Barbie and the European Space Agency (ESA) have partnered to highlight the achievements of the only active female astronaut in Europe, Samantha Cristoforetti, presenting her with a one-of-a-kind doll in her likeness to inspire girls throughout Europe.
Samantha is an aviator, engineer, astronaut and is the first Italian female crew member of the European Space Agency. She said that she hoped to help inspire “young girls and boys to dream about their future without limits”, through this collaboration with Barbie.
This collaboration is part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project, an on-going initiative with the goal of levelling the playing field for girls globally. Research has identified that starting at age five, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs and doubt their full potential – this is called the Dream Gap.
Isabel Ferrer, European Director of Marketing for Barbie, explains: “Barbie has always shown girls that they can be anything, giving them the opportunity to interpret different roles through play and embark on countless number of careers encouraging imagination and self-expression. We know how important it is for girls to have role models and this new ESA collaboration helps us to take this to an astronomical new level.”
As the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon-landing approaches, a series of motivating new short-form videos aimed at parents and young girls will be released to kick off the collaboration. In the videos, Samantha welcomes girls from the Germany, UK, France and Italy into the ESA European Astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany, where they spent time shadowing her and then quizzing her about her extraordinary day job. Additionally, there will be kids-targeted content on Barbie’s successful YouTube vlogger channel highlighting Samantha’s achievements.
Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, Chief Diversity Officer for ESA, says: “While boys and girls generally achieve the same scores in science and maths, few girls dream of becoming scientists, engineers, or space professionals. Social and cultural factors play an important role as the attitude of the family environment towards science and scientific professions.
“The European Space Agency is strongly engaged in promoting girls’ interest in STEM subjects and space careers in particular, as we need a diversity of talents to imagine and enable the future in space. We are therefore proud to launch ESA’s collaboration with Barbie, highlighting inspiring role models as the astronauts and encouraging girls to believe in themselves, look at the sky and dream high.”