Barbie Celebrates Inspiring Women

Words: Sophie Henderson

Observed since the early 1900s and now recognised each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is a proud celebration of women globally. Surprisingly, it seems Barbie is this year’s greatest advocate (yes, I am talking about Barbie, fashion doll brand and pioneer of the conventionally attractive stereotype).

And so ahead of the March celebration, American toy manufacturing company Mattel have debuted new Barbies created in the likeness of 17 inspirational women. In a 21st century driven by rapid progression, they have been working hard to create a more diverse, inclusive brand that embraces all races and body types, straying away from out-dated marketing strategies.

The initiative champions real and powerful women, honouring artist and feminist Frida Kahlo (though a slightly problematic depiction – where is her unibrow?), pilot Amelia Earhart, and Katherine Johnson, the mathematics pioneer who helped NASA get the first man on the moon. Each of the dolls in the Inspiring Women™ collection will come with an informational packet containing a brief history on each of these women’s achievements.

In addition, 14 new women will be added to the brand’s Shero collection, which already includes Ava Duvernay and Misty Copeland Barbies. The newcomers include British boxing champion Nicola Adams, snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, conservationist Bindi Irwin, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, champion windsurfer Çağla Kubat, chef Hélène Darroze, all-star volleyball player Hui Ruoqi, designer Leyla Piedayesh, golf pro Lorena Ochoa, Polish journalist Martyna Wojciechowska, soccer player Sara Gama, actor and philanthropist Xiaotong Guan, prima ballerina Yuan Tan, and fashion designer Vicky Martin Berrocal. Each unique, each inspiring.

It is imperative to celebrate the achievements of influential women, pertinent as young girls are exposed to all forms of new media. There is an extended choice when it comes to choosing a role model, and Barbie is, evidently, beginning to recognise the importance of just that.

Mattel’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Lisa McKnight, said: “As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see. Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

A release date has not yet been given, but dolls are available to pre-order here.