From NASA pioneer Katherine Johnson to civil rights trailblazer Rosa Parks, Mattel has paid homage to the legacies of influential women who sparked transformative change. The latest visionary to be celebrated by the toy brand is Ida B. Wells, BOTWC reported.
Wells—who hailed from Holly Springs, Mississippi—tapped into the power of journalism to capture the injustices faced by African Americans in the South. Wells led groundbreaking investigative research around white mob violence and the lynching of Black men. She was one of the founders of the NAACP and played an instrumental role in the women’s suffrage movement. Her purpose was rooted in seeking truth and her legacy lives on through generations of journalists and activists.
Wells’ doll will be included in Barbie’s Inspiring Women collection which is part of its Dream Gap campaign; an initiative launched by the brand designed to inspire and empower girls through representation. As part of the project, Barbie has created a collection of dolls that depict real-life diverse changemakers in an effort to amplify their stories and create toys in which children can see themselves reflected.
Through the Dream Gap campaign, the brand has collaborated with UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers to cultivate a school curriculum centered on leadership and has also gifted grants to grassroots organizations dedicated to uplifting girls and women. Barbie’s Ida B. Wells collectible dons a blue dress with lace accents and includes a Memphis Free Speech newspaper accessory. The doll is slated to be released on Jan 17. Other pioneers included in Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series are Maya Angelou, Ella Fitzgerald and Helen Keller.
News about Wells’ doll comes months after a monument memorializing her legacy was unveiled in Chicago.
“Research shows that starting at age five, many girls begin to develop self-limiting beliefs and think they’re not as smart and capable as boys. They stop believing their gender can be anything,” read a statement from Mattel. “Barbie is committed to shining a light on empowering role models in an effort to inspire more girls. As a part of the Dream Gap Project, we’re introducing girls to remarkable women’s stories to show them you can be anything.”