Barbie can truly do it all. Over the doll’s six-decade-long run, she’s had hundreds of careers, ranging from aerobics instructor to doctor to astronaut to bee-keeper — and now, Barbie can yet another impressive feat to her list: The title of vaccinologist. Indeed, Mattel has debuted a brand new Barbie doll in honour of Oxford University vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert, who co-created the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
At first, Gilbert felt it was “strange” to have a doll made in her likeness, but hopes her doll will help normalise women working in science, tech, engineering and mathematics.
“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 told The Guardian. “My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”
Prof. Sarah Gilbert co-created the COVID-19 vaccine — and Mattel is honoring her global impact by creating a Barbie… https://t.co/XfAhBFE2wu
Dame Gilbert is one of six new Barbies created in honour of women in STEM from all around the world. Mattel also created dolls based on U.S. healthcare workers Amy O’Sullivan, Dr. Audrey Cruz, Canadian doctor Chika Stacy Oriuqa, Brazilian researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus and Dr. Kirby White of Australia who helped create reusable attire for frontline medical workers.
“Barbie recognizes 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 & Dolls at Mattel.
Dame Sarah Gilbert and her Barbie doll.Andy Paradise/Shutterstock
“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 and give back.”