Barbie dolls have had many roles since their creation in 1959. They’ve inspired children to follow their dreams, with careers like ballerinas, models, doctors, veterinarians, deejays and everything in between. And now, there’s a new inspirational version of the iconic doll on the market — and she’s here to encourage young girls to embark on engineering careers.
Mattel’s Barbie, who has explored over 200 careers since 1959 (some in fields where women aren’t strongly represented like computer engineering and video game development), just announced the latest “Career of the year” doll, and she’s a robotics engineer — a field that has only 12% of employees who are women.
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“For almost 60 years, Barbie has exposed girls to roles where women are underrepresented to show them that they can be anything,” said Lisa McKnight, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Barbie. “By playing with Robotics Engineer Barbie on and offline, we are giving girls a new platform for play in their imaginary world and teaching them important skills for their real world.”
In order to expand the reach to girls everywhere, Barbie will be partnering with Black Girls CODE and Tynker (a coding platform for children), and will be releasing a coding e-book.
Krishna Vedati, co-founder and CEO, Tynker says, “Our mission is to empower youth to become the makers of tomorrow through coding, and the Barbie brand is an ideal partner to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun, engaging way.”
This Barbie comes in four versions, with four different skin tones and hair types, each sporting a different hairstyle. But all four girls wear the same outfit: black jeans, a blue denim jacket, a graphic t-shirt, white sneakers and safety glasses.
So now, not only can you buy a doll that looks like Gigi Hadid or Misty Copeland, there’s also a robot-building doll to prove to girls that science and math are just as cool as walking down a runway.
Robotics Engineer Barbie is another example of Mattel’s commitment to inclusivity when mapping out the future of its iconic doll line. In 2016, Mattel gave Barbie a much-needed 21st century makeover as part of its #TheDollEvolves campaign, releasing three new body shapes for its best-selling toy.
The body-positive makeover was a direct response to the backlash Barbie’s received over the years because of the unrealistic body standards she promotes. She’s now available in tall, curvy and petite sizes which helps the doll portray a greater diversity of women of all body shapes and sizes.
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