In honor of Women’s Equality Day, toy manufacturer Mattel announced their newest creation, the Rosa Parks Barbie.
Since its inception, Barbie has been a symbol of women’s freedom and rights. In 2018 on International Women’s Day, Barbie launched their “Inspiring Women Series,” in an effort “to honor historical role models who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.” The new Barbie made in Parks’ likeness is the newest edition to that collection, which includes mathematician and “hidden figure” Katherine Johnson, whose 101st birthday coincided with the Parks Barbie release.
Mattel, the parent company of Barbie released a statement explaining why they chose Parks saying, “Rosa Parks was an incredible heroine of her time. She fearlessly took a risk that would help change the status quo and pave the way for future generations. Her story is an inspiring example of bravely standing for what is right in the face of adversity.”
The “Inspiring Women Series” was created after Mattel released information about the “Dream Gap,” research that shows that girls began to view their gender as inferior to boys and develop limiting beliefs about themselves at as young as 5 years old, as a result of cultural stereotypes, implicit biases and media representation. The dolls are a part of the Dream Gap Project, which seeks to raise awareness of this issue and support causes and organizations that are fighting to #CloseTheDreamGap.
The Parks Barbie was created in partnership with the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, named for Parks and her husband, who was also a civil rights activist. The doll comes with educational information highlighting the late icon’s contributions to society as well as the traditional clothing and accessories that Barbie is known for.
Anita Peek, director of the Parks Institute for Self-Development, spoke to The Glow Up about the honor saying, “[W]e hope that the Rosa Parks Barbie will spark conversations about her contributions to society and encourage future generations of girls to fearlessly stand up for what they believe in.”
The Rosa Parks Barbie is available for order now.