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Barbie’s Latest Career: Robotics Engineer

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One of the most influential women of all time has held nearly 200 different careers and generated $954.9 million in sales in 2017 alone. From working as a prima ballerina to an astronaut, she’s done it all. Now Barbie® has launched her new career as a robotics engineer.

Mattel unveiled its new robotics Barbie this week as part of their “Career of the Year” collection. The doll comes with a mini laptop, safety goggles and a robot. It is available in four different skin tones.

Mattel also partnered with Tynker, a coding website for kids, to create a program for Barbie that teaches young girls how to code. The program teaches them the basics of coding and let’s them create their own animated robot scene. As the demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers increases, toy companies like Mattel have been pushing STEM based toys.

According to business and technology media company Fast Company, STEM toys still only account for 2 percent of the toy market, but “overall retail sales revenue in the U.S. reached $20 billion in the last year.”

Because Barbie is so influential on young girls — about 94.5 million are sold each year — the company has pushed to provide girls with positive role models. In 2015, Barbie introduced their “You Can Be Anything” campaign that encourages girls to do just that. According to their website, Barbie wanted to “inspire limitless potential in every girl.”

Barbie has recently been a video game developer, scientist, an astronaut, and eye doctor. After centuries of criticism on Barbie unachievable body image, Mattel has also introduced three new body types in 2016 — curvy, tall and petite.

About 24 percent of women work in a STEM related fields. According to The National Center for Women and Information Technology, women make up 26 percent of computing jobs,  19 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees and 17 percent of the Fortune 500 CIO positions.

“We always have this issue in how do we get more females involved in engineering and STEM and technical skills,” said Mattel’s chief technology officer, Sven Gerjets. “For us it was give them the inspiration, let them know they can do this, and then give them some steps to get them started.”

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