Barbie dolls have been linked to body insecurities in young children especially girls but it is also a doll that has inspired a lot of kids to pursue careers most often pursued by males.
Barbie has been an astronaut in 60s when the first man landed on the moon, a gold Olympic skier in the 70s, a rock star in the 80s and was in multiple military branches in the 90s.
She has also dabbled in professional sports, joined the corporate world, became a scientist and also a palaeontologist. Barbie was a computer programmer and video developer too. All in all she has over 200 careers in her lifetime!
The accuracy of Barbie and her accessories as a robotics engineer is ensured by Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT and founder of the social robot company Jibo, Inc.
Breazeal also hopes Robotics Engineer Barbie introduces girls to artificial intelligence and encourages them to learn more about robotics and engineering. Girls playing with the dolls can imagine Barbie programming the robot to do chores, homework and maybe even save the world.
Mattel has partnered with Tynker to create free coding lessons starring Robotic Engineer Barbie to encourage young kids to learn to code.
The latest Tynker Hour of Code tutorial teaches kids how to animate a robot on the screen by using drag-and-drop commands. It is designed to be used by kindergarteners too!
There is also an e-book workbook called Code Camp for Barbie and Friends. The workbook goes over concepts of computer programming by relating coding to everyday life and problem-solving in various careers.
This workbook is an improvement from Mattel’s previous 2010 picture book “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” where Barbie said she needs boys to code and fix her computer from a virus. The company has since apologized when parents were outraged.
Girls need more role models. Let’s inspire the next generation to see themselves in careers underrepresented by women. By encouraging more girls to explore STEM with Robotics Engineer #Barbie, we show them that they can be anything. https://t.co/kRIQ50Ox4Y #YouCanBeAnything pic.twitter.com/aqHFYqDQ6r
— Barbie (@Barbie) June 26, 2018
Other than consulting with Breazeal to make Robotics Engineer Barbie, the debut of the doll is received well by Kimberley Bryant, an electrical engineer and founder of Black Girls Code.
Black Girls Code is a nonprofit organization that has received a grant from Barbie to help reach girls interested in the industry.
“I’m excited because [the doll] allows our girls to imagine a future that I didn’t have at their age,” says Kimberly Bryant.
Feature image from People