New Barbie dolls celebrate fem

Image: Mattel

New Barbie dolls celebrate female scientists – including professor behind vaccine

Barbie and toymaker Mattel is recognising real-life female scientists with their new line of Barbie “role model” dolls.

New Barbie dolls celebrate fem

Image: Mattel

Barbie and toymaker, Mattel recently unveiled a new line of dolls – this time focusing on one of six real-life women working in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).

Six women are being honoured with Barbies

The new creation comes after toymaker Mattel had to respond to criticism that its Barbie doll sets an unrealistic image of womanhood. Now, the new dolls are inspired by real-life heroes.

“Barbie recognises that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel. “To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories…” and added that she hopes the new launch “inspires the next generation to take after these heroes.”

Meet the women

The dolls include Sarah Gilbert – who was recognised with a damehood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours – and who began designing a coronavirus vaccine in early 2020 when COVID first emerged in China. Her vaccine – the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab – is now the most widely used around the world, with doses sent to more than 170 countries.

“I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into Stem careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us,” said Dame Sarah according to the BBC.

Another doll was made in honour of Amy O’Sullivan, who treated the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn, became ill herself, and recovered to return a few weeks later and save even more lives. Meanwhile, Dr Audrey Sue Cruz joined forces with other Asian-American physicians to combat racial bias and discrimination.

Image: Dr Audrey Sue Cruz

Dr Chicka Stacy Oriuwa has advocated against systemic racism in healthcare, which has been further highlighted by the pandemic, while Dr Jaqueline Goes de Jesus is a biomedical researcher credited with leading the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil.

Image: Dr Jaqueline Goes de Jesus

Dr Kirby White co-founded the Gowns for Doctors initiative, which kept frontline workers in Victoria, Australia safe with laundered PPE.

Image: Dr Kirby White

The medical field

Barbie also announced the introduction of the Fast Cast Clinic, which includes a Doctor doll, a medical station, an exam table, an x-ray machine, and a gift shop. Kids can use the included dough to create and shape casts, create wraps with the bandage maker, and playout roles across the medical field.

Image: Mattel