Barbie went to space to inspire more girls to take an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
For the first time in the doll’s 63-year-old history, Mattel announced Barbie ascended to outer space with the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab on Mission DreamStar. By sending two of the dolls on the space mission, the brand hopes to encourage girls to pursue careers in aerospace and STEM.
Women only make up 28% of the workforce in STEM fields, and according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), this disparity begins as far back as elementary school.
“Many girls lose confidence in math by third grade. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to say they are strong in math by second grade — before any performance differences are evident,” AAUW stated.
Sexist myths about girls not being good at math are enough to cause them to steer clear of the subject when they become women. For example, women remain underrepresented in STEM majors in college — it’s no surprise they aren’t visible in the workplace.
“Barbie introduced an astronaut doll in 1965 before humans had even stepped foot on the moon. Now, almost 60 years later and with 200 careers and counting, Barbie dolls have made it to space,” Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel said in a statement.
Barbie has held over 40 careers in STEM over the years, including astrophysicist, space scientist and robotics engineer.
“It is important that we encourage girls to reach for the stars — literally — and pursue careers in aerospace and STEM,” McKnight said. “With help from the International Space Station National Lab team, we are reminding girls that not even gravity can hold them back.”
To commemorate her space mission Barbie will release a special “Space Edition” of You Can Be Anything, a series featuring inspiring female role models. Mattel has also launched a special Barbie Space Discovery line at Target.