Scientist, researcher, conservationist- these professions are no longer male dominated; women have mastered in these fields equally, if not more than men. And you’ll be pleased to know that Barbie has found inspiration in these women as the latest range of the dolls encourages a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) positive mind set.
In collaboration between Mattel, National Geographic and University of Utah scientist Nalini Nadkarni, the popular toy manufacturer has for the first time idolized an Indian origin scientist for its new range. This new range of Barbie dolls promotes diversity with focus around professions currently underrepresented by women such as exploration, science, conservation and research. And most of all, there is also a doll made in the likeness of Nadkarni herself complete with boots, binoculars and a rope, inspiring millions of other brown girls like herself to dare to dream.
This range of Barbie dolls, however, took some 15 years to see the light of day. Nalini Nadkarna, a forest ecologist at University of Utah thought of these dolls that could represent her career and inspire girls to take up more STEM based studies and jobs back in the early 2000s, but she couldn’t find any takers for her idea. Nobody was interested in Barbie dolls with rubber boots, helmets and science gear back then. Undeterred and a big proponent of conservation and recycling, Nalini started making ‘Barbie’ dolls with recycled material. Called ‘Tree Top Barbies,’ these were second-hand Barbies she dressed in clothes of a canopy researcher.
However, last year something unexpected happened with National Geographic reacheding out to Nalini Nadkarni regarding a licensing agreement between Mattel and National Geographic to create Barbie STEM dolls. And here we have the new inspiring range of dolls comprising of wildlife conservationist, astrophysicist, polar marine biologist, wildlife photojournalist and entomologist.