Just ahead of the 2020 election, Mattel announced a new line of Barbie dolls: a political team, from candidate to voter, to encourage girls to raise their voices and feel empowered to change the world.
The collection features four dolls who occupy different roles in the campaign and election process. The team consists of a candidate, a campaign manager, a campaign fundraiser, and a voter. The diverse collection features a Black Barbie as the candidate.
"With less than a third of elected leaders in the U.S. being women, and Black women being even less represented in these positions, we designed the Barbie Campaign Team with a diverse set of dolls to show all girls they can raise their voices," Lisa McKnight, the SVP and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said in the press release. "Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles."
As Barbie’s “Career of the Year” collection, the Barbie “Campaign Team” came about through a partnership between Mattel and the nonprofit She Should Run, a nonpartisan organisation that supports and guides women considering a run for office. The Barbie Dream Gap Project, launched in 2018, made She Should Run one of the three organisations it supports. The project gives girls resources and support to continue believing in themselves, citing research that shows that girls as young as five start developing self-limiting beliefs and begin to think they are not as smart and as capable as boys.
There is still a huge gap in representation in elected positions. Roughly one in five Congress members are women, one in four of all state representatives, and only nine current governors across all 50 states, according to data from Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics. Across the board, it is rare that representation exceeds one-fourth of the total number of positions, despite women equating to 51% of the U.S. population.
This actually marks the seventh time Barbie has run for political office since 1992, according to Mattel's website. In addition to the campaign team, play ballots and prompts for campaign speeches are also available on the Barbie website in the hopes of encouraging girls to get even more involved in voting and writing speeches for themselves as candidates of the future.