Barbie turns COVID vaccine developer into a doll

Professor Sarah Gilbert, the UK COVID Vaccine Developer turns into a Barbie doll, not literally, but Mattel’s Barbie dolls range, turns this “Women of Science”, into the famous blonde-haired pink girl. British Vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert now has a one-of-a-kind doll made in her image. The Oxford University Professor helped lead the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

In July, she was given a damehood, now she shares her professional wardrobe, hairstyle and glasses with Mattel Inc’s new doll

Barbie turns COVID vaccine developer into a doll

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert is one of six female scientists, honoured as a ‘Barbie Role Model’. Image credit: Mattel

Professor Gilbert said she first found the recognition “very strange” but hopes to inspire other young women around the world to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers (STEM). STEM subjects are most important for secondary school ages, most girls shy away from science and maths throughout their education which limits their training and options to have a career within this industry.

Barbie wanted to inspire the next generation of STEM women and Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert is one of six female scientists to be honoured as a ‘Barbie Role Model‘.

The COVID Vaccine Developer goes on to say, ‘I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie doll will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us, I am hoping that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of.’

The co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been producing and testing vaccines for over a decade, according to her Oxford University profile https://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/find-an-expert/professor-sarah-gilbert

And just last month, the widely available vaccine set a milestone of 1 billion doses. What COVID vaccine have you received? Remember you can still book up your vaccine if you haven’t already

Many other STEM women are being honoured with Barbies 

The other women who have been recognised as role models are, U.S. health care workers Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz and emergency room nurse Amy O’Sullivan, a Canadian doctor and advocate against systemic racism in health care Chicka Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr Jaqueline Goes de Jesus and Australian doctor and protective gown developer Kirby White. The dolls are hoping to shine a light on all frontline workers who have made sacrifices when faced with the pandemic and the challenges it heightened.

Barbie Role Models

Mattel has launched six new Barbie role model dolls to celebrate female scientists worldwide. Image credit: Mattel


As of this year, only 35% of STEM students are women, so it is vital to break down this barrier around STEM sectors and address the gender imbalance to increase female students to choose a career within physical sciences, mathematic sciences, computer sciences and engineering with technology. Check out the latest Women in Stem statistics here 

At Project Start we are dedicating the month of August to Women in Engineering, we have already interviewed some inspiring women who work within this unique industry check out their stories

Please stay with Project Start this month, let’s inspire the next generation of women engineers together.