Toy company Mattel is also launching six free Barbie-inspired coding experiences, as part of a multi-year partnership with game-based platform Tynker.

These lessons are designed to teach logic, problem-solving and the building blocks of coding while casting young learners in different roles alongside Barbie.

Explains Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior vice president of Barbie: "For almost 60 years, Barbie has exposed girls to roles where women are underrepresented to show them that they can be anything. By playing with Robotics Engineer Barbie on and offline, we are giving girls a new platform for play in their imaginary world and teaching them important skills for their real world."

This is not the first time Barbie has explored STEM – since 1959, Barbie has held STEM roles including astronaut, scientist, video game developer and computer engineer.

The brand also partners with experts in the field to ensure that dolls are an authentic representation of the profession and coding skills.

Adds Krishna Vedati, co-founder and chief of Tynker: "Our mission is to empower youth to become the makers of tomorrow through coding, and the Barbie brand is an ideal partner to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun, engaging way. It's critical that all young learners have an opportunity to explore the possibilities available in STEM fields, and Tynker's Barbie programming experience is a valuable tool to introduce kids of all ages to these concepts while building their coding skills."

To further pique girls' interest in STEM, the Barbie brand is also:

  • Partnering with Black Girls CODE – providing a grant of support to Black Girls CODE and gifting dolls at robotics workshops to reach young girls interested in developing skills in the field.
  • Debuting more Tynker coding content – continuing its multi-year partnership with Tynker to introduce seven lessons throughout the year and again timed to Hour of Code in December.
  • Releasing a Coding e-book – in collaboration with Information Science Professor and Coder Casey Fiesler, PhD, Barbie is releasing Code Camp for Barbie and Friends.

Last year, Mr Men and Little Miss author and illustrator, Adam Hargreaves, revealed a new character was joining the series – a female engineer. He said that Little Miss Inventor had been created as a ‘positive role model’ for girls.