Barbie – the fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc. – and the European Space Agency (ESA) have partnered to further inspire girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists.
In order to do so, Barbie highlights the achievements of the only active female astronaut in Europe, Samantha Cristoforetti, presenting her with a one-of-a-kind doll in the likeness of the ESA astronaut to inspire girls throughout Europe.
This collaboration is part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project, an on-going initiative with the goal of levelling the playing field for girls globally. Research has identified that starting at age five, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs and doubt their full potential – this is called the Dream Gap. This collaboration, highlighting the fact that only 15% of active astronauts are female and no woman has ever landed on the moon, is part of the Barbie brand commitment to highlight role models that show girls they can be anything and help close the Dream Gap.
As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon-landing approaches, a series of motivating new short-form videos aimed at parents and young girls will be released to kick off the collaboration showing Cristoforetti welcoming girls from the Germany, the UK, France and Italy into the ESA European Astronaut centre in Cologne, where they spent time shadowing her and then quizzing her about her extraordinary day job. Additionally, there will be kids-targeted content on Barbie’s successful YouTube vlogger channel highlighting Cristoforetti’s achievements.
“We are proud to launch this collaboration with the ESA with a clear goal: to inspire girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists. 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. 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,” says Isabel Ferrer, European director of marketing for Barbie.
“While boys and girls generally achieve the same scores in science and math, few girls dream of becoming scientists, engineers, or space professionals. Social and cultural factors play an important role as the attitude of the family environment towards science and scientific professions. The European Space Agency is strongly engaged in promoting girls’ interest in STEM subjects and space careers in particular, as we need a diversity of talents to imagine and enable the future in space. We are therefore proud to launch ESA’s collaboration with Barbie, highlighting inspiring role models as the astronauts and encouraging girls to believe in themselves, look at the sky and dream high,” adds Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, chief diversity officer for ESA.