Women have shaped the world as we know it today, and affected the lives of many generations. Whether it be in the field of medicine, sports, or entertainment, women have made their mark and changed the course of history.
With the help of giant toymaker Mattel, the milestones of these exceptional women have been immortalized in a doll collection with the launch of Barbie's Inspiring Women series in 2018. Through the years, Mattel has been advocating empowerment to teach little girls — and boys — that they can achieve greatness as these role models have.
The first installment of the doll collection included Rosa Parks, the African-American woman who stood up for civil rights of black women in the 1950s, Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly into space aboard the Challenger in 1955, and Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter who used her medium to empower women. NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who passed away a week ago on February 24, 2020, is also part of the series.
This year, Mattel announced that they are including more greats in the Inspiring Women series: Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, tennis champion Billie Jean King, and jazz queen Ella Fitzgerald.
In a press statement, Mattel said, “The new dolls are part of Barbie’s mission to close the Dream Gap, a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential, by showing girls more role models (historical & present) and telling their stories.”
Aside from the Inspiring Women series, Mattel has also consciously advocated inclusivity by way of introducing dolls that represent differently-abled individuals under their Fashionistas line; among them, an African-American woman with vitiligo, a woman in a wheelchair, and plus-size women, a refreshing change from the once-impossibly perfect Barbie doll the brand used to be known for.