Barbie looks good for her age. March 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic fashion doll produced by toy brand Mattel. In celebrating the anniversary, Mattel is honoring several women it views as role models and “sheros.”
Honorees include grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, tennis champ Naomi Osaka, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and several other women who lead the way in art, tech, sports, media, and business.
One dollar from every doll sold will go toward the Dream Gap Project, an initiative put forth by Mattel to “level the playing field for girls,” according to a press release. “Research has shown that starting at age five, girls start doubting their potential, this is the Dream Gap.”
“I’m honored to be repping all the young ones as a Barbie Role Model,” Shahidi said in an Instagram post. “Let’s continue to inspire the next generation and each other. We need your voices and are watching you all blossom and shine! #YouCanBeAnything #Barbie60.”
Similarly, Osaka expressed her excitement over the initiative. She replied, “I’ve played with Barbies when I was a kid, and I think it’s a bit of a surreal experience to have the opportunity to have a Barbie that looks like me,” Osaka told People. She said she hopes having a Barbie doll that represents high-achieving female athletes will inspire girls who love sports to maintain their own sports goals and dreams, People reports.
According to Barbie-Mattel website, the fund will be dedicated to supporting like-minded organizations who are leveling the playing field for girls, while raising awareness to limit factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.
Research has shown that beginning at age 5, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs. They stop believing their gender can do or be anything. It is the mission of the Dream Gap to eradicate this dynamic and this is the year Barbie begins working to close it.
Also, the Dream Gap Project is an “ongoing global initiative that aims to give girls the resources and support they need to continue to believe that they can be anything.”
Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior vice president of Barbie, shared, “With more than 200 careers, six runs for president and a trip to the moon before Neil Armstrong, Barbie continues to evolve to be a modern, relevant role model for all ages. The Barbie brand believes girls should never know a world, job, or dream women haven’t conquered. Through our global platform, we are igniting a movement to help close the Dream Gap and further establish Barbie as the ultimate girl empowerment brand.”