Barbie Wants To Build You A Robot

Robotics Engineer Barbie
The new Robotics Engineer Barbie, available in four different models. (Photo courtesy Mattel)

Barbie might be looking to set up her next Dreamhouse near Caltech's campus. Seems her corporate parents at El Segundo-based Mattel have pushed her into yet another new career: robotics engineering.

Robotics Engineer Barbie launched last week as part of an effort to get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). It's the latest of more than 200 careers held by Barbie, according to Mattel, and one of 10 new dolls representing diverse career options for women.

Right now, just 24 percent of STEM jobs are held by women.

"For almost 60 years, Barbie has exposed girls to roles where women are underrepresented to show them that they can be anything," Lisa McKnight said in a statement. She's Mattel's Senior VP for Barbie. (Could there be a Barbie Senior VP for Barbie Barbie?)

Mattel's also launching six free Barbie-inspired coding programs in a partnership with Tynker — one of those focuses on her robotics engineering, while others include Barbie's career as a musician, pastry chef, farmer, astronaut, and... beekeeper? Yes, beekeeper. More lessons are planned throughout the year, including a tie-in with the Hour of Code in December.

"It's critical that all young learners have an opportunity to explore the possibilities available in STEM fields," Tynker co-founder/CEO Krishna Vedati said in a statement.

The coding lessons extend to an e-book, Code Camp for Barbie and Friends.

There's an extra layer of authenticity — Mattel partners with experts to help make sure the dolls represent the profession and corresponding coding skills, according to the company. Other STEM jobs that Barbie has previously held include astronaut, scientist, video game developer, and computer engineer.

Mattel's also partnering with Black Girls CODE, including providing dolls for robotics workshops.

The doll is available now, in four skin tones. Maybe she can provide some robotics expertise to her new El Segundo neighbors at the Times.

Watch the new Barbies getting the unboxing video treatment:


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