Women have been underrepresented in the STEM fields for pretty much as long as science, technology, engineering, and math have existed. But the latest Barbie doll wants to change that. The “Career of the Year” Barbie for 2018 is here, and she’s a robotics engineer.
As Mashable reported, Mattel debuted the new Barbie on Tuesday, June 26th, and she seems pretty great, tbh. This is the first time that Barbie has ever been shown as a robotics engineer, and you can pick her up for $13.99 on the Barbie website right now. But can you really put a price on a doll that could inspire girls to get involved in programming?
Robotics engineer Barbie is all about that representation, too: she comes in four different skin tones and is prepared with her own safety goggles, a laptop, and her own tiny robot.
As part of Mattel’s partnership with Tynker, fans of the new Barbie will also be offered seven free coding lessons to help them make their dreams of becoming robotics engineers into reality.
Mattel even asked Cynthia Breazeal, a scientist at MIT and the founder of robotics company Jibo, to help them ensure the doll accurately portrayed real robotics engineers at work, and it sounds like she’s pretty pumped for what this could mean for girls who might end up working in her field someday.
“I think it opens up girls’ imaginations [to the idea] that intelligent machines can be in their daily lives,” Breazeal told Mashable. “When you talk about something like artificial intelligence, we cannot only have a few highly educated people. The democratization of these technologies is very, very important.”
And hopefully, this Barbie will help get us there.