Inspirational women who have been honoured with Barbie dolls

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert has become the latest extraordinary woman to be honoured with her own lookalike Barbie doll.

The Oxford vaccine co-creator said she hoped the Mattel toy, which wears a navy blue trouser suit, would inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: “My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”

And Ms Gilbert isn’t the only incredible female figure to be cast as a Barbie doll in recent years.

Read: The women we admire and love

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop has been honoured with her own Barbie doll for being a “glass ceiling shattering icon”.

Ms Bishop, the first woman to serve as foreign affairs minister, was hailed as a ‘true trailblazer’ by Mattel. She was celebrated by the toy giant as a part of its annual celebration of role models breaking boundaries to show girls they can be anything.

The doll clasps a miniature Australian passport and wears the blue suit and famed red satin block heels she wore on the day she resigned.

The outfit was seen as a bold statement and a symbol of solidarity and empowerment among Australian women at the time.

Ms Bishop said she was “thrilled” to be honoured.

“I have been a fan of Barbie since I was a very little girl. And Barbie asked me this year if I would accept this honour and I was just delighted.”

Sky Brown

Teenage skateboarding sensation Sky Brown – who got her own Barbie at the end of 2020 – made history in Tokyo, becoming Great Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist of all time after taking bronze in the women’s park competition at the age of 13 years and 28 days.

Naomi Osaka

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who made headlines when she decided to prioritise her mental health and withdraw from the French Open, was unveiled in July as an on-court Barbie complete with racket, ball and a Nike tennis dress.

Read: Why old-fashioned toys are making a comeback

Adwoa Aboah

British model Adwoa Aboah was honoured in 2019 for her activist work as found of the Gurls Talk community. Her Barbie featured a buzzcut, purple eyeshadow and the model’s beautiful freckles.

Clara Amfo

Ahead of International Women’s Day earlier this year, broadcaster Clara Amfo was celebrated for being a vocal advocate for racial equality. The BBC radio presenter’s trainer-wearing Barbie came with headphones and a microphone.

Dina Asher Smith

The fastest British female sprinter ever, Dina Asher Smith was also unveiled in Barbie form ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day, her doll sporting a track-ready two-piece.

Read: From Furbies to pet rocks – the top-selling toys of Christmases past

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s 2018 Barbie was intended to honour the Mexican artist’s “great legacy and story”, but distant relatives of the painter, who died in 1954, weren’t happy with the doll. They claimed it didn’t accurately represent her Tehuana-style dress or heavy eyebrows.

Did you know any of these women had Barbie dolls? Please share a woman you find inspirational in the comments section below.

– With PA

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