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Barbie doll astronaut to inspire young girls to take up careers in STEM

Barbie doll astronaut to inspire young girls to take up careers in STEM
Cristoforetti hopes the doll, which has been videoed floating at zero gravity like she will be at the space station, can inspire young people.

Education

Barbie doll astronaut to inspire young girls to take up careers in STEM

Mattel has teamed up with the European Space Agency for a Barbie doll modeled on Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to encourage young girls to take up careers in space and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is part of an initiative called This World Space Week.




Cristoforetti hopes the doll, which has been videoed floating at zero gravity like she will be at the space station, can inspire young people. “As astronauts, something that we all care about is inspiring the next generation, the 44 year old said. She will break new ground next year by becoming the first European to command the International Space Station. “I think boys and girls, they get passionate about things because they see something intriguing because they see something funny and so maybe those images will kindle a passion in some girls’ hearts and that will be incredible.”

Isabel Ferrer, Barbie’s Marketing Director for Europe and Emerging Markets, said with Space & STEM careers still underrepresented by women, Barbie is using its platform this World Space Week to show girls exciting and diverse roles and activities in space to inspire them to explore their limitless potential.

Dr Nicol Caplin, a Deep Space Exploration Scientist, Human and Robotic Exploration Directorate, says this scheme is focused on potential engineers and space scientists. Noting the lack of gender diversity in not just space but STEM careers, she said young girls seeing the doll could be extremely powerful. “I think it’s quite difficult to be what you can’t see and so to imagine yourself as a Barbie doll floating through space. Maybe that could have some spark and could really inspire some girls to put on a space suit and to go into space themselves one day,” Dr Caplin said. “It’s not so much about forcing girls into STEM. I think this is all about giving young girls the choice of knowing what they want to do in life and knowing what is open to them.”


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As part of the World Space Week, Barbie is sharing educational resources on space on its website and proceeds from the new Samantha Cristoforetti Barbie doll will be donated to the Women in Aerospace organization towards a PhD student bursary.


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