Barbie Debuts ‘Role Model’ Dolls to Honour COVID-19 Heroes, Including Oxford-AztraZeneca Co-Creator

Toymaker Mattel has dedicated six Barbie dolls to COVID-19 heroes for its line of ‘role model’ dolls.

The scientist who designed the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert, is among the women to be named as a ‘2021 Role Model’ by Barbie maker Mattel.

“It’s a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness,” Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel.

“I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science,” she added.

Gilbert’s doll wears a navy-blue pantsuit with auburn hair, complete with spectacles, closely matching her appearance.

Her Barbie is one of six to honour women working in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).

As well as the likeness of Dame Sarah, the toy company has created models in honour of five other women working in Stem around the world.

They 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 Dr Kirby White, an Australian medic who co-created a reusable gown for frontline staff.

Lisa McKnight, senior vice-president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said: “Barbie recognises that all frontline 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.”