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New Barbie dolls pay tribute to inspiring women

March 9, 2018

A day before International Women's Day, toymaker Mattel is releasing a collection of 17 new dolls honoring modern-day and historic role models, from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to British boxing champion Nicola Adams.

Barbie puppen von Pilotin Amelia Earhart, künstlerin Frida Kahlo und Mathematikerin Katherine Johnson
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Barbie

To mark International Women's Day, toymaker Mattel has revealed Tuesday new dolls inspired by women who have had a significant impact on society. 

The 14 new honorees of the brand's "Shero" collection come from different backgrounds, and are famous for their achievements in various fields. The line-up includes Patty Jenkins, director of "Wonder Woman," Italian soccer player Sara Gama, Australian actress and activist Bindi Irwin and British boxing champion Nicola Adams.

"Without my own role models, I wouldn't be where I am today," said Adams in a statement. "Growing up, my biggest role models were my mum and Muhammad Ali — there were no female boxers in the media when I was a kid, and I might have discovered my passion sooner if I'd seen other women boxing," she added.

American snowboarder Chloe Kim also commented on Twitter about being among the women selected for the series:

Read more: Film 'A Silent Revolution' features Saudi women who went straight to the top

Three new models in the "Inspiring Women" series pay tribute to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, US aviator Amelia Earhart and mathematician Katherine Johnson, who worked on the US space program (top picture).

Frida Kahlo's family has criticized on Wednesday the way the doll unfaithfully represents the legendary Mexican artist. 

Read more: Barbie: Frida Kahlo descendants clash with Mattel

American olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad with her Barbie doll
American Olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad with her Barbie doll, revealed in November 2017Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP/Invision/ E. Agostini

Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie, did not say whether all the dolls would be available in stores. Several previous Sheroes, including African-American ballerina Misty Copeland and American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, have gone into production. Muhammad's doll was the first hijab-wearing Barbie ever created. 

Barbie dolls have often drawn criticism for promoting harmful stereotypes. The toymaker said it hoped the new models would "inspire girls to achieve greatness." However, while the new collections feature different body sizes, the dolls still share Barbie's unrealistic body standards, critics point out.

jt/eg (APE, Reuters)