08.03.2023 Space International IWD Space

A one-of-a-kind doll for a one of kind scientist for International Women Day

Writer Cameron Jones
mattel british space scientist
© Mattel

This year, Mattel is recognizing seven female leaders from across the globe, encouraging more girls to see themselves in STEM careers. As part of them, there is the British space scientist, Maggie Aderin-Porock, who had the honour of receiving her personalised Barbie doll, in celebration of International Women’s Day. 

Dr Aderin-Pocock is most famously known for presenting BBC One’s “The Sky at night”, and also for being the first black woman to win gold at the Physics News Awards and finally for being the former President of The British Science Association. 

She explained that growing up, Barbie dolls did not look at all like her. There was not a single doll that would represent her. So when she got the news from Mattel that they were going to make a doll in honour of her achievements in making space and science accessible to girls, she and her daughter were over the moon about it. 

“I want to inspire the next generation of scientists, and especially girls, and let them know that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is for them. These subjects are just too important to be left to the guys because, through science, you can literally change the world. I hope my doll will remind girls that, when you reach for the stars, anything is possible.”

More often than not she explained that when she told people what her job was they had to double check in their mind what they said as they were not quite sure: “We do often have these stereotypical images of what people do, and I like to smash those stereotypes whenever I get the opportunity.” 

This can also be said of one of her fellow space women, Jessica Watkins, who became the first black woman on the space station crew on February 10 2023. These two women and many other figures are hoping that they will be able to show girls all around the world that they can also dream one day of being in the same position as them.

Aderin-Porock hopes that this doll, wearing a starry dress and equipped with a telescope, will help inspire many other black women within the space industry. 

Other dolls have also been made in recognition of other “trailblazers” such as Suan Wojcicki, long-time chief executive of YouTube, and professor Dr Antje Boetius, a German marine researcher and microbiologist.