A new line of Barbie's have hit the market, with the iconic doll taking up the role of a robotics engineer.
The new range is designed to spark girls' interest in STEM jobs, an industry where women are under-represented.
“For almost 60 years, Barbie has exposed girls to roles where women are underrepresented to show them that they can be anything,” Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior VP, Barbie said in a statement.
As part of the launch Mattel and Tynker – a game-based coding platform – will make six free Barbie-inspired coding lessons available for children to access.
“By playing with robotics engineer Barbie on and offline, we are giving girls a new platform for play in their imaginary world and teaching them important skills for their real world,” McKnight said.
The coding lessons vary from robotics engineering to farming and meet kids where their interests lie, to teach them skills for the future workplace environments.
“Our 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,” Krishna Vedati, co-founder and CEO, Tynker said. “It's critical that all young learners have an opportunity 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.”
To strengthen the launch, the Barbie brand will also; partner with Black Girls Code to provide a support grant and gift dolls at robotics workshops; release more Tynker lessons throughout the year in time for Hour of Code in December; and, debut a coding e-book titled Code Camp for Barbie and Friends which will introduce kids to coding concepts.
This is not the first venture in to STEM fields for Barbie as she has been an astronaut, scientist, video game developer and computer engineer previously.
Robotics engineer Barbie is available on the Barbie website and Amazon for US$13.99.
Watch Barbie and Ken explain real-life algorithms below.