In an attempt to eliminate racial and sexual stereotypes Barbie manufacturer Mattel has released a new version of its popular doll – robotics engineer Barbie
Mattel joined forces with nonprofit organization Black Girls Code, an Oakland-based group whose aim is to increase the number of women of colour in the digital space. The new robotics engineer Barbie comes packaged with accessories such as a robot, computer and safety glasses. It retails for $13.99 online.
In conjunction with engineering, the 2018 “Career of the Year” Barbie also teaches code. Speaking to CBS in San Francisco, 15-year-old Kimora and 11-year-old Sumayyah were overjoyed to have a Barbie they could relate to.
Sumayyah noted that the new Barbie looked like her and also had the same interests as her. She even mentioned that as she looked at the design of the robot, she noticed that it looked like it was 3D printed.
Kimora also said that like this new Barbie she loves science. Stating that science is her favourite subject in school and that she really enjoys learning to code while doing workshops with Black Girls Code.
In a personal blurb on the Black Girls Code website, founder Kimberly Bryant explained that she started the group after feeling culturally isolated at college.
The group was launched in April 2011 and their goal is to train one million girls by 2040.
Earlier this year, Mattel revealed a partnership with Tykner—which teaches children how to make games and write code. Seven Barbie-themed coding lessons were released to encourage young girls who had an interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
Tynker chief executive Krishna Vedati said in a statement to Engadget that their mission is to empower youth to become the makers of tomorrow through coding, and the Barbie brand is an ideal partner to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun, engaging way.
Vedati also wrote that it’s critical that all young learners have a chance to explore the possibilities available in STEM fields, and Tynker’s Barbie programming experience is a valuable tool to introduce kids of all ages to these concepts while building their coding skills.
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