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The Barbie 'Dream GAP' project

Updated: Mar 14

A compelling research from NYU shows evidence that from as early as age 5, girls start doubting themselves and feel that they are less competent and capable than boys. That’s called the Dream Gap. Girls as young as five develop self-limiting beliefs. The STEM gender gap starts to open up in higher education. In OECD countries, fewer than one-in-three engineering graduates and fewer than one-in-five computer science graduates are women.

As part of the BARBIE fever that is taking the world on by storm, an important message is to be highlighted. Toy diversity matters, and Barbie despite traditional believe understood that in recent years spiralling on a doll transformation and the launch a ver important project : The Barbie Dream Gap project with the launch of the Inspiring Women Series, producing dolls based on women including ‘Helen Keller’. But what does this means for the future of Barbie and future generations?

On an interview with Mattel's Global Head of Barbie Lisa McKnight she says:

“One of the main pillars at Barbie is empowerment, specifically empowerment for girls. After the discovery of the compelling researchfrom NYU, We felt that that was an important issue that we wanted to shine a light on, so we introduced the Barbie Dream Gap project and in 2019 we also introduced the Barbie Dream Gap Fund. We are using our resources to conduct more research to understand the root causes behind this phenomenon, why girls are losing confidence in their abilities because of gender at such a young age

What Barbie are also doing with their platform is giving girls more positive role models. "We have created a variety of Barbie Dolls in a variety of careers where women are underrepresented. We’ve got over 28 STEM career dolls in our line which we are very proud of. We are also using our platform to create Likeness Dolls, or dolls of real women, from both the present and the past. Our new product line from a few years ago is called The Inspiring Women Series, in which we are celebrating trailblazers from the past, and up until present day as well, but it’s really aligned around women who are trailblazers and relatable to kids. We want kids to be able to see these women, learn about their stories, and find inspiration.

As parents we certainly worry about our conscious parenting approach and how our decisions can impact deeply future generations with decisions as small as choosing their toys. We celebrate forward thinking brands that are not only providing fun to our children but caring for the message and influence toys can have in young age. And for this we celebrate Barbie, for recognising, it was time for a change. Time to redefine role models, not by pretending the past did not exists but by celebrating the moment of change and embrace corporate awakening like Mattel to todays reality.

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