From astronaut to architect, Barbie has had a lot of jobs, with the aim being to teach young girls that they can be anything they want.
Now there’s a Barbie for the Covid generation, with Mattel launching a doll in the likeness of AstraZeneca virologist Dame Sarah Gilbert, who helped create the Oxford coronavirus vaccine.
Dame Sarah, who led development of the life-saving jab, said she initially found the gesture ‘very strange’ but hoped it would inspire young girls to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
‘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,’ she said.
‘My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.’
The doll will have Dame Sarah’s red hair and glasses, and be dressed in a smart suit ready for a day of research and development.
As well as the likeness of Dame Sarah, the toy company has created models in honour of five other women working in STEM around the world.
They include US healthcare workers Amy O’Sullivan and Dr Audrey Cruz, both of whom treated seriously ill patients during the pandemic.
Canadian doctor and campaigner Dr Chika Stacy Oriuwa will also get her own Barbie, as well as Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr Jaqueline Goes de Jesus.
Another to be reimagined in plastic is Dr Kirby White, an Australian medic who co-created a reusable gown for frontline staff.
Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said: ‘Barbie recognises that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened.
‘To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back.
‘Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes.’
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