Throughout the years, the iconic Barbie doll has had an array of over 200 different occupations. From a bakery chef with an adorable little oven to the doll's recent debut as an astronaut, Barbie's section of the shelves has always been full of different possibilities. Today, the doll's latest career is paving the way for a new source of inspiration for young girls — a robotics engineer Barbie has just been announced as a part of the brand's "Career of the Year" line.
The tech Barbie comes with everything she needs to hit the ground running at her new job in robotics engineering. In the package, you'll find a laptop displaying a screenshot of her latest project, a miniature silver robot as her side-kick, and a trendy business casual outfit complete with a pair of safety goggles. The doll retails for $13.99 and comes in four different skin tones. With her intriguing new title and all of this gear, it's only a matter of time before engineering becomes the hot topic at play-dates around the world.
Mattel's release of robotics engineer Barbie is a powerful opportunity for kids across the globe. On the company's website, they explain that while "the STEM field continues to grow," the fact remains that "only 24% of those jobs are held by women." With the introduction of the innovative doll, they hope to combine the creativity and timeless fun that comes with playing with the beloved toy with the chance to motivate girls to explore all kinds of STEM fields.
In hopes to give girls the best introduction to STEM they possibly can, Mattel has partnered up with educational programming platform Tynker to create the "Barbie You Can Be Anything" coding lesson series. Through a fun, Barbie-inspired interface, girls have the opportunity to learn basic programming concepts at a young age. While taking Barbie's Tynker lessons, kids will be able to explore the ins and outs of different careers, practice critical thinking, and work on problem-solving skills in an encouraging and imaginative setting. Not going to lie, it looks way cooler than the games that were available when I was eight. The chance to gain an understanding of simple coding skills or learn what it takes to pursue different careers before even reaching double digits is an amazing experience for young girls, and offers the tools to fulfill Mattel's goal of increasing the number of women in STEM careers.
In addition to partnering with Tynker, the Barbie brand continues to branch out in hopes to further motivate kids to learn about STEM. In their partnership with Black Girls CODE (BGC), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing technology education to African-American girls, the brand will support BGC's robotics workshops that aim to inspire young girls who are working to increase their knowledge in STEM. Mattel has also teamed up with Information Science professor and coder Casey Fiesler, PhD, to release a brand new coding e-book. Code Camp for Barbie and Friends will creatively introduce kids to fundamental coding concepts and debut on Amazon.
Through these partnerships and the inspiring efforts to increase the visibility of women in STEM, Mattel hopes to show girls that they can truly be anything they set their minds to. "By playing with Robotics Engineer Barbie on and offline, we are giving girls a new platform for play in their imaginary world and teaching them important skills for their real world," explains Lisa McKnight, Barbie's General Manager and Senior Vice President. The brand's dedication to showing all girls that the possibilities are endless when it comes to their futures makes me so excited for the next generation of young women. Robotics engineer Barbie is only the beginning in our road to empowering them.