EL SEGUNDO, Calif (KTVU) - Ahead of International Women's Day this week, Mattel announced on Tuesday it's rolling out 17 new Barbie dolls, designed to inspire young girls with role models from past and present.
As part of its new "Inspiring Women" collection, the Southern California-based toy company has created three new Barbies in the likeness of historical figures: aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, Mexican artist and activist Frida Kahlo, and NASA mathematics pioneer Katherine Johnson, who was featured in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”
Each doll will be sold with background information about the woman who inspired it and the contributions she made in her field.
The company tells KTVU it will start to roll out the new Barbies to stores nationwide. They're currently available for pre-sale on the Barbie website.
In a press release, Barbie Senior Vice President and General Manager Lisa McKnight said, "Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”
In addition to the "Inspiring Women" collection, Mattel also announced additions to its existing "Shero" line of Barbies.
The company is honoring 14 present day role models from around the globe including Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, "Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, Renowned French chef Hélène Darroze, Chinese Volleyball Champion and Olympic gold medalist Hui Ruoqi, and fashion designer Leyla Piedayesh, an Iranian immigrant in Germany who founded the label lala Berlin.
The Shero Barbie line, launched in 2015, already features influential figures including Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, Hollywood director Ava DuVernay, and ballerina Misty Copeland.
"Sheroes are given the Barbie brand's highest honor, a one-of-a-kind doll made in their likeness, in celebration of their roles in expanding the possibilities for girls everywhere," the company said.
The dolls are not designed for mass production, but there have been instances the company has ended up selling ones that have shown to be particularly popular.