Barbie launches doll of scientist Sarah Gilbert who created coronavirus vaccine

‘My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist,’ says Dame Gilbert

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 04 August 2021 16:13 BST
Creator of Oxford vaccine made into Barbie doll

Barbie producer Mattel has created a doll in the likeness of the scientist who designed the Oxford coronavirus vaccine: Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert.

Professor Gilbert started working on creating a jab in early 2020 when Covid-19 was first reported to be spreading in China.

The vaccine she designed, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, has now been used in more than 170 countries, making it the most widely used in the world.

The doll depicts Professor Gilbert wearing a black trouser suit with a white shirt and glasses.

“My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist,” she said.

Professor Gilbert’s doll is one of six Barbie dolls that Mattel has created to honour female “Covid heroes” working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

‘Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,’ says Mattel of its new collection of Barbie dolls

They include Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr Jaqueline Goes De Jesus and Australian doctor Dr Kirby White, who created a reusable gown for health workers.

Also included are frontline worker from Las Vegas Dr Audrey Sue Cruz, psychiatrist Dr Chika Stacy Oriuwa, and American emergency room nurse Amy O’Sullivan.

“I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into Stem careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us,” said Professor Gilbert.

The new STEM dolls come after Barbie has undergone an image makeover by releasing several ranges of dolls aimed at diversifying its line-up.

Last year, Mattel launched a new line of dolls aimed at showcasing “a multi-dimensional view of beauty” and “represent global diversity and inclusivity”.

The new additions, which were released throughout 2020, included a Barbie with no hair and the skin condition vitiligo.

Mattel said that it aimed to “redefine what it means to be a Barbie or look like Barbie” with the launch of its new doll with vitiligo, adding that it will allow children to “play out even more stories they see in the world around them”.

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