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The AstraZeneca Vaccine Scientist Has Been Honoured With Her Own Barbie

Dame Sarah Gilbert, the scientist who designed the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, has become one of six women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to be made into a Barbie doll, it’s been announced today.

While she admitted seeing herself in Barbie form felt “strange,” Gilbert said she hoped the doll would “show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”

She continued: “I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us.”

As mentioned, Gilbert headed up the team responsible for developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, which at the time of writing (August 4, 2021) is being distributed in 181 countries.

Speaking about the six new dolls, Lisa McKnight, senior vice-president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said: “Barbie recognises that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened. To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories … to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back.”

The other dolls are modelled after Canadian doctor and campaigner Dr Chika Stacy Oriuwa; U.S. healthcare workers Amy O’Sullivan and Dr Audrey Cruz; Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr Jaqueline Goes de Jesus; and Dr Kirby White, the Australian medic who co-created a reusable gown for frontline staff.

In recent years, Mattel has also created Barbie dolls of other inspiring women including civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and Team GB’s Dina Asher-Smith.