British scientist Sarah Gilbert, co-creator of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, was awarded a Barbie doll made in her image. “I hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how important a science career is to help the world around us,” said the Oxford University professor.
The American company Mattel in its series of Barbie Role Models has released six dolls modeled on women distinguished in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to Sarah Gilbert, these are Amy O’Sullivan, an emergency room nurse at Brooklyn, New York, who treated America’s first COVID-19 patient, Kirby Whitby, an Australian physician, co-creator of reusable medical gowns, Jacqueline Goes de Jesus, who led the genome sequencing of the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, Audrey Cruz, a Las Vegas doctor who fought racial prejudice alongside other Asian-American doctors, and Chika Stacy Oriuwa from the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Canada, who pointed to “systemic racism” in service health.
Gilbert: I hope my Barbie doll will make children aware of the importance of a career in science
Gilbert, who was honored by Queen Elizabeth II with an Order of the British Empire and the title of knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in December 2020, admitted that she initially felt a bit strange about the doll, but hopes it will help encourage girls into science.
– I hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how important a science career is to help the world around us. I would like my doll to show children careers they may not know about, such as a vaccinologist, for example, she said.
The Barbie Role Models series is one of several initiatives by Mattel in recent years in response to allegations that Barbie dolls displayed unrealistic patterns of femininity.
Main photo source: Reuters