Barbie 'Role Model Line' Includes Vaccine Developer

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Mattel Barbie dolls helped drive growth in sales during the third quarter.
In response to the "Toy Like Me" Campaign on Facebook, a British toy maker has designed a series of dolls carrying different disability accessories.

Toymaker Mattel Inc. has recognized women leaders in the fight against COVID-19 by launching a line of Barbie dolls that bears the leaders' resemblance.

"Barbie is committed to shining a light on empowering role models past and present in an effort to inspire more girls. As a key part of our ongoing global initiative, the Dream Gap Project, we’re introducing girls to women’s stories from all walks of life to show them they can be anything. #MoreRoleModels," reads the web page that introduces "The Barbie Dream Gap Project."

Among the six Barbie dolls to be released in the COVID-19 leader's “role model” line is British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert.

Gilbert, a 59-year-old professor at Oxford University and vaccinologist, developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca with Catherine Green Hooder, who runs a clinical biomanufacturing facility at the university.

The two women were inspired to create a vaccine after someone during a camping trip commented to Green, “We don’t know what they put in these vaccines, I don’t trust them. They don’t tell us the truth.”

The women have since dedicated efforts to “humanize vaccine-making in the hope of boosting trust,” according to Nature.

"It's a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness, I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science," Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel.

As part of having the doll made after the vaccinologist, Mattel allowed Gilbert to choose an organization to receive a financial donation. She chose WISE (Women in Science & Engineering) a nonprofit organization that inspires girls to pursue a career in STEM.

The 5 other women who inspired the dolls apart of the COVID-19 leader's “role model” line include:

  • Amy O'Sullivan, an emergency room nurse, who treated the first COVID-19 patient at the Wycoff Hospital in New York
  • Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher, who led the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant
  • Kirby White, an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers during the pandemic
  • Audrey Cruz, a frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination
  • Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto who battled systemic racism in healthcare
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