COVID-19 vaccine maker Professor Sarah Gilbert honored with Barbie doll
Mattel, the maker of the Barbie doll, has created a doll to honor Professor Sarah Gilbert, who led the development of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is notably being used in India under the label Covishield. Professor Gilbert's Barbie is intended as an honor for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Here are more details.
Reacting to the Barbie, Professor Gilbert said she initially found the creation of the doll "very strange," but hoped the gesture would inspire young children. "I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us," she said.
Earlier this year, Professor Gilbert was Professor Gilbert recognized in the Queen's Birthday Honors as a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE). She had also received a standing ovation at Wimbledon this year.
Apart from Gilbert, Mattel has also created models to honor five other women healthcare workers. These include US healthcare workers Amy O'Sullivan and Dr. Audrey Cruz, Canadian doctor and campaigner Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, and Australian medic Dr. Kirby Whit. Dr. Whit is known for co-create a reusable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) gown for health workers.
Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice-President at Mattel said, "Barbie recognizes that all front-line workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened." "To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories...to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back." Mattel has recently launched some gender-inclusive dolls and an Inspiring Women series.
These new series and gender-inclusive dolls came following criticism that Barbie dolls portray an unrealistic image of womanhood. On International Women's Day, Barbie launched a doll in the image of Radio presenter Clara Amfo, known for fighting racial inequality. Recently, American civil rights activist Rosa Parks was also made into a Barbie doll. In 2017, a Hijab-wearing Barbie was also launched.
Over the years, Mattel has made models of various stars including Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, etc., in celebration of their career milestones. Last month, Mattel made a Barbie doll to honor Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka.