I vaguely remember that Mattel released a Barbie for President when I was a young mom (Barbie’s first presidential run was in 1992, after Geraldine Ferraro ran for VP in 1984). I really wasn’t aware that since then, the toy company had tried to make politics playful for young girls with additional Barbies running for president in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
This year they have gone beyond Barbie as a presidential candidate. In 2020 in addition to running for office, various Barbies run the campaign, raise funds and just plain vote. I find it surprisingly cool as I was one of those moms who used to take her kid into the voting booth with me and let him pull the lever to open the voting curtain when I was done. We always voted as a family, and still do, so a Barbie voter doll is a great idea. I might even buy one now. It’s also a great gift for an 18 year-old’s first voting experience.
The set highlights dolls of different ethnicities, including a Black candidate, to remind all girls they can lead from the polls to the podium.
The brand has teamed up with She Should Run, a non-partisan non-profit that provides guidance and support to women considering a run for office. While we know there are barriers to getting girls in leadership roles, 66% of adults surveyed by She Should Run* observed an increased perception in leadership potential in children who role-play.
With a continued effort on determining how to foster girls’ leadership ambition, Barbie and She Should Run are hoping to directly address the top barriers to girls’ leadership, which are self-limiting beliefs.
“Since 1959, Barbie has championed girls and encouraged them to be leaders whether in the classroom, community or someday, of the country,” said Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “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. Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles.”