Is LEGO Sexist?

30th July 2022

The LEGO Group has consistently ranked amongst the world’s most reputable brands according to annual surveys. It’s extremely rare that you hear a bad word said about them. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve been within earshot of someone uttering a criticism and LEGO in the same sentence. Their products are loved by millions of people, both young and old, and their logo is recognised all over the world. In addition to selling products, they also perform various charitable acts through the LEGO Foundation and are pushing a strong sustainability agenda. It would seem then that they have all bases covered...

But what about gender equality? Are LEGO ensuring what men and women are suitably presented in their products? We were curious to find out, so we looked at all the minifigures released from 1 January 2018 to 1 July 2022, of which there were a little over 4,000, and categorised the gender of them all to see the proportion of male and female minifigures. This exercise was not possible for all minifigures, predominantly due to the absence of a printed headpiece or if the minifigure was unnamed and non-human. Examples of these include Stormtroopers and droids under the Star Wars theme and Pyro Vipers under the NINJAGO theme. Many minifigures of skeletons, statues, and babies were also not possible to categorise. Furthermore, there are a significant number of characters in Minecraft, Super Mario, and Unikitty themes whose gender is not specified. However, every attempt was made to assign a gender where possible, and in total, the number of uncategorised minifigures was relatively small, making up less than 9% of all the minifigures in this analysis.


Year Male Female Uncategorised
2018 60 32 8
2019 60 34 6
2020 58 33 9
2021 57 35 9
2022 53 37 10
2018 - 2022 58 34 8

The results show that there is a far greater proportion of male than female minifigures, making up 58% and 34% of the total respectively. This equates to just under 1,000 more male minifigures than female minifigures since the beginning of 2018. This seems to suggest that LEGO has a strong gender bias and is favouring male characters over female ones. On a positive note, the percentage of male minifigures has been steadily falling over the past few years, while the female share is increasing.

To provide a bit more insight we broke this down by theme. To ensure this was robust, we have only included percentages for themes with 20 or more minifigures since 2018.

Theme Male Female Uncategorised
Bricklink 60 40 0
City / Town 59% 39% 2%
Collectable Minifigures 65% 33% 2%
Disney 25% 65% 10%
Duplo 52% 48% 0
Friends 17% 82% 1%
Harry Potter 63% 30% 7%
Hidden Side 62% 32% 6%
Holiday / Seasonal 62% 32% 6%
Ideas 70% 28% 3%
Jurassic World 68% 32% 0
LEGO Brand 58% 40% 2%
LEGOLAND 52% 48% 0
Minecraft 20% 3% 77%
Monkie Kid 70% 26% 4%
Nexo Knights 60% 12% 28%
NINJAGO 80% 14% 6%
Speed Champions 67% 33% 0
Star Wars 67% 14% 19%
Superheroes (Marvel + DC) 77% 19% 3%
Super Mario 21% 1% 78%
The LEGO Movie 2 49% 39% 12%
Trolls World Tour 43% 57% 0
Unikitty 37% 37% 26%
Vidiyo 45% 50% 5%

This breakdown shows that there is a mix of LEGO’s own brand themes and licensed themes among those with the greatest bias towards men. LEGO cannot be solely blamed for the bias in licensed themes based on movie or TV franchises, as minifigures belonging to these themes need to depict characters within the franchise. If the source material is male-dominated, the associated LEGO themes will be too. However, there are steps LEGO could take to reduce their gender imbalance. For example, when looking at the Star Wars theme, the vast majority of unnamed minifigures (i.e. those not based on a specific character) are male, but there is nothing to stop troopers and fighter pilots from having female heads. In the future, LEGO could also favour franchises with greater female presence when deciding on their next licensed theme. They could also bear this in mind when choosing which LEGO Ideas projects become official sets. This may already be happening, as Hocus Pocus - Sanderson Sisters’ Cottage was recently announced as the winner of the second review of 2022.

Regarding LEGO’s own themes, they have no one else to blame but themselves for the discrimination towards women. NINJAGO and Monkie Kid both have a narrative devised by LEGO and both have a male centric cast of characters. But there is no reason why this can’t be changed to make female figures the main protagonists, or at least more prominent and more numerous. As it stands, of the six main ninjas in NINJAGO, only one, Nya, is female, and she appears less frequently in sets than each of the five male ninjas. Interestingly, in themes where there is no narrative, and therefore no reason for favouring males over females based on character roles, there is still gender inequality. Examples include City / Town, Holiday / Seasonal, LEGOLAND, and Speed Champions.

While female representation is improving overall, this isn’t happening consistently across all themes. For many of LEGO’s biggest themes the picture is fairly static, but based on the first half of 2022, it looks like we are going to get more women minifigures than ever in City / Town, with a 52% / 47% slightly in favour of men.

It should be noted that there are several themes which have more female characters and minifigures than male ones, such as Friends and Disney. These are aimed strongly towards girls, but we’re of the opinion that it would be best to make representation of both sexes equal and let girls, boys, women, men, and non-binary people decide for themselves what sets they want to buy.

Posted by Graham on 30th July 2022

Graham is a passionate LEGO collector, who has a penchant for the Castle, Pirates, and Western themes. You can usually find him monitoring the latest developments and giving his opinion on what's hot and not in the LEGO world.

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