The childhood best friend of every little girl- The Barbie- has found a new avatar. Production company Mattel, the original creators of the Barbie, have launched a Barbie modeled after the ecologist and canopy scientist, Nalini Nadkarni. The idea behind it is to make the doll more inclusive of all professions and encourage more girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects), which sadly to this day are known as the ‘male dominated’ streams. It is for the first time that Mattel is launching a Barbie after an Indian-origin scientist.
Nadkarni recognized this fact early on and was convinced that modeling Barbie on scientists and explorers would inspire more and more little girls to take up STEM streams. So in the early the scientist who has worked extensively in the rainforests of South America, created the TreeTop Barbie, allowing girls to consider forest ecology as a viable career choice, Femina reported.
Recently, life came full circle when National Geographic and Mattel (the original creators of Barbie) approached Nadkarni to help them create a line of scientist Barbies—astrophysicists, marine biologists, nature photographers, entomologists, and wildlife biologists. Fitted with lifelike accessories, these dolls would aim to make science interesting for children. The best part is that Nadkarni has also got a canopy scientist Barbie, complete with rope, boots and climbing gear, modeled after her, in the new series.
“People … really liked this idea of linking a female scientist with the traditional Barbie doll. We’ve had many people ordering TTB for their daughter or niece or granddaughter, and all have said it is a big hit,” said Nadkarni, The Daily Utah Chronicle reported.
Soon after, The New York Times covered her initiative to bring more women and young girls into STEM courses through these TreeTop Barbies and people at Mattel found out about it. When Nadkarni created her Tree Top Barbie, in early 2000s, and they started flying off the shelves, Mattle asked her to shut down the production of the doll, but the Utah University scientist did not agree, reported She The People.
After nearly two decades, Nadkarni’s wish came true.