Lego the research institute
The Lego Research Institute is made up of a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist.Lego

Lego has launched its first ever all-female scientist toy set following complaints from customers that the toys depict harmful gender stereotypes.

The issue reached media attention in February when a 7-year-old girl wrote Lego a letter complaining that all girl Legos just "sit at home, go to the beach and shop" and had no jobs, while the boys "went on adventures, worked, saved people and had jobs, even swam with sharks".

The Danish company responded to the sexism critiques by producing a Lego Research Institute set, including three women with scientific professions including a palaeontologist, astronomer and chemist.

But the figurines, which can be ordered via the Lego website for £15.99 per set, have already attracted criticism from feminists for adapting the standard mould in order to give the female toy a noticeable 'hour-glass' shape.

According to a story in the Huffington post, Lego has faced 'sexism' criticims, after feminists complained that the female scientists appear to have oddly reshaped waists.

Complaints were also raised because the toy scientists appear to be wearing make-up, a feature Geophysicist Ellen Koojiman, the designer behind the new all-female set, has denounced: "I strongly discourage wearing make-up in the lab, because it may cause contamination of the samples", she wrote, on first reviewing the final product.

Lego has responded to questions about the announcement: "It was a fan submission," company spokeswoman Amanda Santoro said. "It isn't really in response to anything else."

The product was released this week through Lego's Lego Ideas programme, which allows designers outside of the company to design custom sets that have a chance of becoming actual products if they are voted for by users more than 10,000 times.

The initial stock of the Research Institute sold out in a matter of days, though customers can still order their sets online, but will have to wait a month to receive them.