Since 1959, Barbie has been one of the most popular toys for young girls around the world. A leading female scientist from the University of Cambridge recently questioned if Barbie dolls might be threatening young girls' interest in science.
"We introduce social contracts by stereotyping what toys boys and girls receive from the earliest age," said physicist Athene Donald before her inaugural address as the new President of the British Science Association.
Donald strongly believes that young girls need to be given more toy choices beyond Barbie to spark an interest in science. The STEM workforce is still dominated by men and Donald contends that intrigue in science begins at a young age.
“Girls toys are typically liable to lead to passivity — combing the hair of Barbie for instance — not building, imagining or being creative with Lego or Meccano. Boys ads are dominated by power and battle whereas girls seem to be able to get through life on love and magic.”
“If they never had the opportunity to take things to pieces and build them up again; they have always just played with dolls and dolls in a stereotypically female situation, such as worrying about hairstyle or making tea, then how can they image themselves as engineers or chemists?”
And how are people reacting to Donald's comments?
Here's what people said on Twitter:
MGA Entertainment, the company behind several popular toy brands, recently announced they are creating a new type of doll they hope will inspire girls to pursue STEM careers. Called the Project Mc2 line, the dolls will come with an experiment kit for girls to explore different aspects of science.