The world’s most famous doll just got a little more ambitious. Answering the increased push to interest girls in STEM-related fields, on Tuesday, Mattel introduced Robotics Engineer Barbie—complete with her own movable robot and laptop. As Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior vice president of the Barbie brand, told Glamour magazine:
We wanted to shine a light on this underrepresented career and field for women. Only 24 percent of STEM jobs are held by women, and we felt that Barbie, with the platform that we have, was the perfect opportunity to do more in this space.
Mattel created Caucasian, African-American, Asian and Latina versions of the new doll so “as many girls as possible see themselves.” And to ensure that the new Barbie looked the part, the brand consulted a female professor at MIT. “[T]he details of [Barbie’s] fashion are all about authenticity,” McKnight told Glamour.
Case in point: In contrast with the flowing hair that Barbie was once known for, Robotics Engineer Barbie wears a ponytail, and she’s wearing sneakers because the job requires her to be on her feet, constantly working with equipment. “We wanted to make sure her fashion was reflective of what someone in the profession would really be wearing,” McKnight said.
To complement the new Barbie, Mattel will produce an introductory Amazon e-book that will introduce girls to the basic concepts of coding. The brand has also partnered with educational-programming platform Tynker to create content helping girls better understand what robotics engineers do, as well as teaming up with Black Girls Code to offer robotics workshops to girls interested in the field.
“All [Barbie’s] careers are about inspiring the limitless potential in every girl,” McKnight told Glamour. “We have a platform that can be leveraged to do good, and we want to use our voice to have a call to action to inspire the next generation of girls.”