British scientist presented with unique Barbie doll for International Women’s Day

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock made a 'Barbie Role Model' for making space and science accessible to girls

A British scientist has been honoured with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in her likeness in celebration of both International Women’s Day and British Science Week. Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, best known for presenting BBC One’s The Sky At Night, has been made a “Barbie Role Model” in recognition of her achievements in making space and science accessible to girls.

Her doll, created by toy company Mattel, wears a starry dress and has a telescope accessory – a nod to Dr Aderin-Pocock’s work with the James Webb Space Telescope. The black 54-year-old said: “Since falling in love with the idea of space travel as a young girl, I have spent my career trying to show girls how fascinating space science can be.

“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.”

Barbie is also donating Dr Aderin-Pocock’s book Am I Made Of Stardust? to schools across the UK through partner charity Inspiring Girls. Mattel will expand its Barbie Career range with a marine biologist doll this spring, joining Stem figures including a doctor, a vet, a scientist, and an astronaut.

British scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE has been given a one-of-a-kind doll in her likeness in celebration of both International Women’s Day and British Science Week (Image: Mattel)

Dr Aderin-Pocock added: “As a black woman, I’ve found that I don’t always fit some people’s perception of a scientist. We do often have these stereotypical images of what people do, and I like to smash those stereotypes whenever I get the opportunity.

“As a child growing up I played with Barbies, and I still do now with my daughter. When I was little, Barbie didn’t look like me, so to have one created in my likeness is mind-boggling. It’s such an honour to receive this doll that is celebrating my achievements… My daughter and I danced around the living room when we heard!”

Marketing director at Mattel UK Kelly Philp said: “We know that, globally, Stem is a field widely recognised as under-representing women, so, as a brand, Barbie is committed to showing girls more Stem careers.”

In celebration of the occasions, Barbie has also recognised seven other women who are “trailblazers” in their field, including Susan Wojcicki, long-time chief executive of YouTube, and Professor Dr Antje Boetius, a German marine researcher and microbiologist. Dr Aderin-Pocock’s doll will not be on sale to the public, but is a one-off that has been given to her by Mattel.