Mattel has created a new Barbie in the likeness of the European Space Agency’s only active woman astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, as part of the company’s own mission to encourage young girls into STEM subjects.
The collaboration with ESA is part of Mattel’s aim to bridge the Dream Gap, a campaign it has embarked on to help young girls recognise their own potential from a younger age.
Astronaut Cristoforetti was selected by the global toymaker as an inspiration and role model to its Barbie brand core audience of young girls.
Cristoforetti has said that she hopes the collaboration with Barbie “will help young girls and boys to dream about their future without limits.”
Isabel Ferrer, European director of marketing for Barbie, said that the brand is proud to be part of the collaboration with the ESA.
“Barbie has always shown girls that they can be anything, giving them the opportunity to interpret different roles through play and embark on countless number of careers encouraging imagination and self-expression,” said Ferrer.
“We know how important it is for girls to have role models and this new ESA collaboration helps us to take this to an astronomical new level.”
The partnership between Mattel and ESA has been supplemented with a Barbie brand commissioned report to gauge parental attitudes and knowledge around STEM subjects. The survey of 2000 parents has revealed that 80 per cent said they lacked basic knowledge of STEM careers.
The study threw up interesting results, including the matter that 52 per cent of the parents surveyed had no idea of any of the names of the top female space astronauts.
Addressing these concerns, Barbie has also published a set of STEM tips for parents and caregivers to help them encourage their children to aspire to a career in a STEM-related field.