WEDNESDAY 11 JUL 2018 10:57 AM

BARBIE INSPIRES YOUNG GIRLS TO CODE

From walking the red carpet as a movie star to exploring seas as a scuba diver, Barbie is a doll of many talents. On her newest adventure, Barbie proves herself no stranger to the digital age as she shows off her coding skills in her latest career as a robotics engineer.

Having launched a new line of role-model dolls in March, Mattel, the company behind the world’s most iconic doll, continues to inspire young girls. According to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, a mere 27 percent of STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are held by women. After sixty years of encouraging girls by portraying women in female-underrepresented careers, Barbie breaks ground in the STEM industries.

While the company has formerly been known for the toxic messages its dolls were sending by perpetuating unrealistic and exclusive beauty standards, Mattel has rebranded to reveal a new purpose of empowering girls. By manufacturing dolls with different body types, skin tones and careers, Mattel moves away from its past reputation of bringing girls down to an age of empowering the women of tomorrow.

Wearing safety goggles, a graphic t-shirt, black trousers, a denim jacket, and sneakers, robotics engineer Barbie is dressed in clothes suitable for a tech environment. She also comes with a doll-sized computer and a tiny robot.

The ‘Career of the Year’ doll was launched on 26 June in collaboration with Tynker, a game-based educational platform that teaches kids how to make games and programs. In an effort to encourage young girls to learn coding skills and pursue a career in STEM, robotics engineer Barbie comes with six free web courses that teach kids logic, problem-solving and the basics of coding.  

Mattel also collaborated with Black Girls Code, a non-profit which focuses on providing technology education for African-American girls. Featuring the doll in four different models, each with a different skin tone, the latest Barbie also shows young girls of colour that the colour of their skin does not restrict them from pursuing a career in STEM.

Co-founder and CEO of Tynker, Krishna Vedati says, “Our mission is to empower youth to become the makers of tomorrow through coding, and the Barbie brand is an ideal partner to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun, engaging way.”

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