Mattel Releases Barbie Doll of Scientist Behind Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

Mattel, the company behind Barbie, is honoring women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Published Aug 4, 2021

 (Twitter, screen capture)
Image Via Twitter, screen capture

Professor Sarah Gilbert, one of the scientists behind Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine, is being honored in an unusual  way: with her very own Barbie doll.

The Barbie is part of six other dolls in a “role model” series by Mattel that honors women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Other women being honored in this way include Amy O'Sullivan, an emergency room nurse, Kirby White, an Australian medic who helped create a reusable gown for health workers, and Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher, according to the BBC.

Gilbert, who initially thought the creation was “very strange” added that she hoped it would inspire children to work in careers they may not know of, including as vaccinologists.

"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,” she told the BBC.

Gilbert was a co-creator of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the most widely distributed vaccine in the world, currently being used in around 181 countries.

According to Al Jazeera, Gilbert chose nonprofit Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) — which is dedicated to encouraging girls to join careers in STEM — to receive a donation from Mattel.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.