Mattel Unveils 17 Barbie Dolls Designed To Be Real-life Role Models

For International Women’s Day on March 8, Mattel just announced that a number of real-life women are going to be occupying a spot usually reserved for their original doll icon Barbie. As part of the company’s effort to inspire girls, female trailblazers will be replicated in plastic as a nod to their inspiring lives and careers.

The Mattel company, creator of Barbie dolls surveyed 8,000 mothers and found out that 86% of them are worried about what kind of role models their daughters are exposed to.

In response, the company has released a series of empowering women dolls from both the past and present. “Girls need more role models. That’s why Barbie is committed to shining a light on empowering female role models in an effort to inspire more girls. Because believing they can be anything is just the beginning, actually seeing that they can makes all the difference.” Mattel stated.

The lineup includes three historical figures and 14 modern-day women:

  •    Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman (USA)
  •    Chloe Kim, the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal (USA)
  •    Bindi Irwin, conservationist (Australia)
  •    Nicola Adams, the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title (UK)
  •    Leyla Piedayesh, knitwear designer (Germany)
  •    Yuan Yuan Tan, prima ballerina of the San Francisco Ballet (China)
  •    Xiaotong Guan, actress (China)
  •    Martyna Wojciechowska, journalist and explorer (Poland)
  •    Sara Gama, soccer champion (Italy)
  •    Hélène Darroze, two Michelin-star chef (France)
  •    Hui Ruoqi, Olympic gold medalist in volleyball (China)
  •    Nicola Adams, OBE, boxing champion (UK)
  •    Frida Kahlo, artist (Mexico)
  •    Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer (USA)
  •    Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician and physicist (USA)

They join Olympic fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad, film director Ava Duvernay, gymnastic champion Gabby Douglas, ballerina Misty Copeland, model Ashley Graham, and other women who were inducted in previous years. Interestingly, three of the new dolls are modeled after household names in China, pointing to Mattel’s strategy towards the Chinese market after failing to capture it in the early 2000s.

To participate in the call to inspire women around the world, Barbie is also encouraging fans to share women who inspire them on social media using the hashtag #MoreRoleModels.