Stay-at-home fathers are an increasingly common sight across Canada. You see them in the schoolyards. You see them at the park. Rarely, though, do they show up on toy-store shelves. Lego has just changed that.
The company unveiled its newest minifigure at the New York Toy Fair last week: a stay-at-home dad who, with his black hair, beard and black and red checked shirt has a slight hipster vibe. More important, he comes pushing a stroller. There is also a new working mother minifigure, wearing office attire. Both are part of the company's Lego City line.
"We need to stay in tune with the world around us," Soren Torp Laursen, president of LEGO Systems, told Fortune. "We aren't responding to demand from anyone. We are trying to portray the world around us and listen to our consumer base." The new line also includes a figure in a wheelchair.
The number of stay-at-home dads in Canada has been steadily rising in recent decades.
In 1976, they made up only two per cent of couples with at least one child under 16. By 2014, that number had jumped to 11 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
A similar trend has occurred south of the border, where the number of stay-at-home fathers has nearly doubled since 1989, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
With rising numbers of fathers at home to look after children while mothers head to the office, it only makes sense that toys should reflect that social reality.
More importantly, kids will have the chance to see, play and explore through their imaginations a richer, more varied idea of fatherhood and family dynamics.
The full Lego City line is expected to go on sale in June.
Who should be next in Lego's attempt to better portray the world we live in?