British scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock has been honoured with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in her likeness in celebration of both International Women’s Day on 8 March and British Science Week from 10-19 March.
Aderin-Pocock, 54, best known for presenting BBC One’s The Sky At Night, is the first Black woman to win gold at the Physics News Awards. She has been made a “Barbie Role Model” in recognition of her achievements in making space and science accessible to girls.
“Since falling in love with the idea of space travel as a young girl, I have spent my career trying to show girls how fascinating space science can be,” said Aderin-Pocock.
“I want to inspire the next generation of scientists, and especially girls, and let them know that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is for them. These subjects are just too important to be left to the guys because, through science, you can literally change the world. I hope my doll will remind girls that, when you reach for the stars, anything is possible.”
Dr Aderin-Pocock added: “As a black woman, I’ve found that I don’t always fit some people’s perception of a scientist. We do often have these stereotypical images of what people do, and I like to smash those stereotypes whenever I get the opportunity.”
Mattel will expand its Barbie Career range with a marine biologist doll this spring, joining STEM figures including a doctor, a vet, a scientist, and an astronaut.
Kelly Philp, Marketing director, Mattel UK, commented: “We know that globally STEM is a field widely recognised as underrepresenting women so, as a brand, Barbie is committed to showing girls more STEM careers. In the UK, research tells us women make up only 26% of the STEM workforce so showcasing an exciting career in space science like Dr Maggie’s is just one way we are inspiring girls to think differently about their career opportunities.”
Barbie has also recognised six other women who are “trailblazers” in their field: Susan Wojcicki, long-time YouTube CEO; Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder and CEO of 23AndMe; Janet Wojcicki, professor of Paediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of California; Prof Dr Antje Boetius, the German marine researcher and microbiologist; Katya Echazarret, Mexican electrical engineer & Science Show host; and Li Yinuo, the Chinese co-founder of ETU Education.
“Our parents fostered independence and a belief that we could truly be anything we wanted to be when I grew up, but most important was to pursue a passion,” Anne Wojcicki said in a statement. “I hope that sharing our stories encourages young girls to try something new, face something that may scare them, and look at challenges as exciting opportunities.”
Their dolls, like Dr. Aderin-Popcock’s, will not be on sale to the public but are one-offs given by Mattel.