LEGO hasn't been known for treating boys and girls as equals in recent years. Many female minifigs in their regular city line do things like shopping or going to the beach, while male minifigs go on adventures or launch space shuttles. LEGO made a whole line of toys called LEGO Friends specifically for girls that is saturated with the color pink and features different, non-standard minifigs.
But, I'm getting off track. I want to celebrate something LEGO has done right. Ellen Kooijman, aka Alatariel Elensar, submitted an idea to LEGO Ideas (formerly known as Cuusoo) featuring female scientists in action. The project received over 10,000 votes and made it to LEGO's review board where it was chosen to go into production. The LEGO Research Institute is now available for purchase, and it looks absolutely wonderful.
The 165 piece set features three female minifigs. There's a paleontologist, astronomer, and a chemist, and each comes with a miniature lab:
Alatariel's original design looked like:
They stuck pretty close to her concept, and I think the Research Institute set will lead to lots of girls and boys coming up with imaginative stories for the characters. I can't wait to play with them.
You can purchase the set at LEGO's website for $19.99. It's sold out at the moment - which makes me happy - but you can get your order in for an August 11th ship date. You might be able to track it down in a LEGO store near you, too.
h/t The Mary Sue