Over the last few years, Barbies have undergone a transformation.
Gone are the wildly unattainable body ideals, and the obsession with pink. Now, you can buy dolls of all shapes, colours, abilities, and in a wide range of careers.
To celebrate Space Week, which runs from 4 October to 10 October, Barbie has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) and its only active European female astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to celebrate ‘Women in Space’ and inspire girls everywhere to see the STEM field as a viable career option.
They created a special edition lookalike doll of Samantha, and even gave her a taste of space. The doll departed from the ESA base in Germany and travelled on a Zero-gravity flight, mimicking all the preparation and experience of a real-life astronaut.
Samantha Cristoforetti, 44 from Italy, is an aviator, engineer, astronaut and is currently in training ahead of her next mission to the International Space Station in April 2022. During her six-month tour of duty, she will take on the role of Commander and plans to take her doll on the mission with her to continue inspiring girls.
‘Sometimes little things can plant the seeds of great dreams, who knows?’ says Samantha.
‘Maybe the fun, images of my doll floating in weightlessness will spark children’s imagination and lead them to consider a career in STEM.’
Research shows, women are still underrepresented in STEM careers and even at a young age, girls say that they are least confident in their maths skills in school. This means that they are missing out on potentially fulfilling and highly paid careers in the industry, where employment growth rate is three times faster than for non-STEM jobs.
Samantha’s doll isn’t the first astronaut Barbie to exist. The brand first space explorer doll ‘walked on the moon’ before man ever did, in 1965.
Barbie has been an astrophysicist, a space scientist and an astronaut, and has created dolls in the likeness of real-life role models; astronauts Sally Ride from the USA and Anna Kikina from Russia.
Recently, an AstraZeneca virologist Dame Sarah Gilbert – who helped to create the Oxford Covid vaccine – was also immortalised in doll form.
So don’t be surprised if your child’s Barbie games are slightly more advanced than the ones you played as a kid.
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