Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced today that Barbie is celebrating International Women’s Day by honoring more than half a dozen women worldwide who are leaders in STEM. To that end, Barbie developed a unique role model doll based on them. Barbie realizes that seeing equals believing. Showing successful, female role models in STEM is essential for children to develop and maintain an interest in this field.
Women make up only a third of the STEM workforce, and there is evidence that girls are systematically put on a track during their education that leads away from STEM. To show girls that they can become anything they want, Barbie proudly spotlights female role models and their careers in a field of work where women are historically underrepresented.
“Barbie strives to showcase women of diverse backgrounds, professions and nationalities so that girls worldwide can see themselves in careers that may not always seem accessible,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “STEM is a field in which women are severely underrepresented. By highlighting these seven leading women in science and technology, we hope to encourage girls to follow their passion in this field. We are proud, on the occasion of this International Women’s Day, to continue our work in closing the Dream Gap, and to remind girls that there are no limits to their potential.”
Among the women Mattel chose as female role models, we find three exceptional sisters from the United States – Susan, Anne, and Janet Wojcicki – who can inspire a wide range of STEM fields for the next generation of female executives. The full selection of women who will receive the honor of having a unique Barbie doll made in their likeness includes:
- Susan Wojcicki (United States): Longtime YouTube CEO
- Anne Wojcicki (United States): Co-Founder and CEO of 23andME
- Janet Wojcicki (United States): professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco
- Katya Echazarret (Mexico): electrical engineer and speaker in scientific shows
- Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock (United Kingdom): space scientist and science teacher
- Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius (DE): marine researcher and microbiologist
- Li Yinuo (China): co-founder of ETU Education.
“It feels unreal that there would be interest in my family stories and that this could have an impact on the lives of girls worldwide. Growing up, my sisters were one of my strongest role models as we all built careers based on our interest in STEM. Our parents encouraged independence and gave us the message that we could later become anything we wanted, but that the most important thing was to follow our passions,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO, 23andME. “I am honored to celebrate International Women’s Day this year with Barbie and in the company of my family and these other impressive women in leading STEM positions. I hope that sharing our stories encourages young girls to try something new that they may be a little afraid of, and to see challenges as exciting opportunities.”
“I know from experience that role models are essential for young girls to see what is possible. When I started my career, I barely found inspiring stories of other women who excelled in STEM – and epidemiology in particular,” says Janet Wojcicki, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology, UCSF. “I am impressed by the increasingly important place Barbies hold for children from all kinds of communities. In my work, I observed firsthand how important Barbie is to girls in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. I’m honored to have been chosen as a Barbie role model this year and to be able to help children around the world see women in places they might one day want to be themselves.”
“Growing up, I couldn’t imagine having a career in technology, ” said Susan Wojcicki, Special Advisor to Google and Alphabet. “My sisters and I found a job we love doing and discovered how creative and fulfilling a career in STEM can be for women. I worked at Google for almost 25 years and was CEO of YouTube for nine years. An incredible experience! I sincerely hope that Barbie’s celebration of International Women’s Day reminds girls worldwide that they can become anything they want to be.”
Barbie collaborated with Susan Wojcicki on a custom YouTube video. In this video, Susan answers questions about empowerment and shares the learning experiences that happened to her on her journey to become CEO at a top technology company.
In addition, Barbie will highlight all of these global role models through a special episode of Barbie You Can Be Anything Series – an inspiring digital series of conversations with female role models – featuring Anne Wojcicki, in which she shares the joys of science, genetics and DNA with children from the Boys and Girls Club.
In a push to level the playing field for girls worldwide, Barbie founded the Barbie Dream Gap Project in 2018, a global initiative over several years to create awareness around the limiting factors that keep girls from reaching their full potential. Since its inception, the brand, through the Barbie Dream Gap Project, has made more than $1.5 million available to nonprofit partners whose mission is equality by improving education, leadership skills and mentorship opportunities for girls.