Today is International Women’s Day. While society has taken a number of crucial steps towards achieving gender equality over the past 100 years, there are still many areas, even in the Western world, where women are discriminated against because of their gender.
One of the most popular typically female toys is Barbie. The plastic fantastic companion has repeatedly come under fire for creating unrealistic body standards, and Mattel is now attempting to rectify this problem by using the toy to promote diversity to children.
Check out the video below to learn more:
To celebrate some of the world’s most inspirational women, Mattel has released a line of Barbie dolls inspired by women who’ve been celebrated for their remarkable achievements, many of whom have flown against patriarchial and societal norms to make a difference.
“Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real-life role models to remind them that they can be anything,” senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, Lisa McKnight, said in a news release.
1. Frida Kahlo, Artist
The supremely talented painter Frida Kahlo has earned international acclaim for her use of magic realism and her honest depiction of what life as a woman is like, fearlessly tackling often-taboo subjects like gender inequality, heartbreak, and miscarriages.
2. Amelia Earhart, Aviation Pioneer
Since the dawn of time, women have had fewer opportunities afforded to them in the world of work, especially when it comes to jobs which are deemed to be masculine. However, one of the first women to prove that girls can really do anything was Amelia Earhart. She was an aviation pioneer who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.
3. Martyna Wojciechowska, Journalist
Women’s rights vary dramatically around the world and Polish journalist Martyna Wojciechowska has helped shed light on this important topic. Traveling around the world as part of a TV series called The woman at the edge of the world, she has met women from all walks of life and given them not only a platform to share their stories, but shed light on the status of women in the country they are living in.
4. Hélène Darroze, World-Renowned Chef
Hailed as the world’s best female chef, Hélène Darroze has two Michelin stars and three restaurants to her name. The French woman has said that she is inspired by everything, including her travels and adopted daughters from Vietnam, 11-year-old Charlotte and nine-year-old Quiterie.
5. Ashley Graham, Model And Body Activist
Society puts a lot of pressure on women to conform to ideal body standards, and Ashley Graham was one of the first plus-size models to break them. She has promoted body positivity to women everywhere, speaking in high schools about body image and acceptance.
6. Patty Jenkins, Filmmaker
Famed for refusing to accept less than a man would receive for her work, Patty Jenkins is one of the world’s most inspirational female directors. Her blockbuster movie Wonder Woman (2017) was praised throughout the world for turning sexist Hollywood conventions on their head.
7. Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician and Physicist
Patriarchal norms did not put women and technology together, but without Katherine Johnson, NASA would not be what it is today. During a 35-year career, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency backup return paths for some of the agency’s first space program.
8. Yuan Yuan Tan, Prima Ballerina
Women who are members of an ethnic majority often face more barriers on the road to success in the Western world. Yuan Yuan Tan, however, is proof that women can do anything they put their mind to. She is the youngest and first Chinese member of the San Francisco Ballet.
9. Sara Gama, Soccer Player
Soccer is a sport which is almost synonymous with men, but Sara Gama has shown women everywhere that they can play it just as well. She won the 2008 U-19 European Championship as the team’s captain and has played successfully at an international level.
10. Leyla Piedayesh, Designer and Entrepreneur
Women’s fashion and comfort are two words which rarely appear in the same sentence. Leyla Piedayesh, however, has created award-winning clothes that are not only feminine but go against the patriarchal norm of uncomfortable women’s fashion.
11. Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencing Champion
The hijab is an important part of Muslim women’s identities. Ibtihaj Muhammad made history in 2016 at the summer Olympics by becoming the first woman to wear a hijab while competing for the US. She went on to become the first female Muslim-American to win a medal at this level.
12. Bindi Irwin, Conservationist
Following in her father Steve’s footsteps, Bindi Irwin fights for animal rights, encouraging people to conserve the incredible wonders nature has given us. She’s also used her fame to speak up for women’s issues like the need for more birth control options in the third world.
13. Xiaotong Guan, Actress and Philanthropist
After finding fame at an early age, Guan Xiaotong has used her position as one of China’s best-known actresses as a force for good. She became the ambassador for “World Life Day” in 2017, which promotes awareness of the importance of protecting wild fauna and flora.
14. Chloe Kim, Snowboarding Champion
Another woman who is making waves in a typically masculine sport is Chloe Kim. She took up snowboarding when she was just four years old. Now she’s an Olympic gold medalist, who amazingly earned three X Games gold medals before she was 16.
15. Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics Champion
Olympic superstar Gabby Douglas made history by becoming the first African American or the first of African descent of any nationality to become an Olympic all-around champion. She puts her success down to her faith in God.
16. Ava Duvernay, Film Director
As the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Ava DuVernay truly is an inspiration. In 2016, it was announced that she would be the first woman of color to direct a movie with a budget over $100 million, A Wrinkle in Time.
17. Hui Ruoqi, Volleyball Champion
Retiring this year from the sport, Hui Ruoqi won the best server award at the 2012 Olympics and played as part of China’s team that took gold in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
18. Nicola Adams OBE, Boxing Champion
Nicola Adams really does know what it means to fight like a girl and was the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title in 2012. She made history again at the 2014 Commonwealth Games by becoming the first female boxing champion.
Even in the most advanced societies, there is still a gender pay gap, and International Women’s Day will continue to be relevant for as long as inequality like this exists. Mattel’s decision to make this line of Barbies is an important reminder for girls of the future that there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to bridging this gap, and, as intended, shows them that they can do anything they want to with their lives.