A Robotics Engineer Barbie has been launched by Mattel, aiming to promote STEM ambitions for young girls and improve the limited representation of women in technical fields.
Throughout her life, Barbara Millicent Roberts (aka Barbie) has had over 200 jobs, including astronaut, game developer, computer engineer and even US President. In contrast to its historically image-focused reputation, the brand has continuously tried to distance itself from it by focusing on inspiring girls everywhere.
Previous projects presenting Barbie in technical careers have attracted criticism due to inappropriate clothing or having traditionally feminine roles. Now, the new edition of the popular doll has been designed under the guise of a robotics engineer. She wears casual, practical clothing (including flat shoes) and lab goggles, and comes in four different skin tones. According to Mattel, the brand partnered with real engineers to ensure that the dolls give a realistic representation of the profession.
“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, Barbie senior vice president. “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 the real world.”
Furthermore, Mattel will be working with Tynker and non-profit Black Girls CODE in order to offer six free, online Barbie-inspired coding lessons that cover logic, problem solving and other basics of computing. Barbie will also be releasing a child-friendly e-book about coding – Code Camp for Barbie and Friends.
“It’s critical that all young learners have an opportunity to explore the possibilities available in STEM fields and Tynker’s Barbie programming experience is a valuable tool to introduce kids of all ages to these concepts while building their coding skills,” said Krishna Vedati, co-founder and CEO of Tynker.