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Barbie Celebrates 5th Anniversary of the Barbie Dream Gap Project by Donating Dolls for Global Auction and Hosting Inspirational Programming


Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced in celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Barbie Dream Gap Project and timed to International Day of The Girl, they have teamed up with Inspiring Girls International who will host a global auction featuring replicas of role model dolls originally launched over the past five years. The dolls are made in the likeness of five global Barbie role models who have broken barriers for the next generation of leaders. As Mattel previously made one doll each in their likeness as a gift to commemorate their accomplishments, this auction is the first time these custom dolls are available for fans.

In 2018, Barbie launched the Barbie Dream Gap Project after discovering research out of NYU that shows that starting at age five, many girls begin to develop self-limiting beliefs and think they’re not as intelligent and capable as boys. The Dream Gap for young girls still exists, but new research out of NYU shows the challenges don’t lie in girls lacking self-confidence or drive — the gaps often occur in the world around them. 
Even though progress has been made toward gender equality, stereotypes and societal biases still exist that can affect a girl’s trajectory and future choices. The Barbie Dream Gap Project is a global mission dedicated to closing the gap by challenging gender stereotypes and helping undo the biases that hold girls back from reaching their full potential. 

As we commemorate the 5th anniversary, this global auction is the only opportunity for fans worldwide to take home a replica of these Barbie dolls made in the likeness of five inspirational role models. Each of the five women celebrated in this auction has previously been honored with a doll made in their likeness to celebrate the strides they have taken to advance opportunities for girls. 

The role model dolls for auction include:  

  • Shonda Rhimes (United States) - Award-Winning Writer, Producer, Author and CEO of Shondaland
  • Helene Darroze (France) – Michelin Chef
  • Bebe Vio (Italy) - Proud Paralympian & Inclusion activist
  • Katya Echazaretta (Mexico) - Electronic Engineer, First Mexican Woman to Travel to Space and President of the Katya Echazarreta A.C. Space Foundation
  • Hui Ruoqi (China) – Volleyball Olympic Champion 

“Barbie’s commitment to empowering children worldwide continues to inspire me, especially on the 5th anniversary of the Barbie Dream Gap Project,” said Shonda Rhimes, Award-Winning Writer, Producer, Author and CEO of Shondaland. “I’m honored to work with Mattel for the second time on their mission to foster the confidence and resilience young girls need to pursue successful futures.  You cannot be what you cannot see - I hope that my participation will open eyes, and doors, and help inspire young women to make space for themselves in the world.”

In the five years since the Barbie Dream Gap Project’s inception, Barbie has continued working with researchers to better understand the Dream Gap and where the barriers to girls’ big dreams and brilliance originate. Since creating the multi-year initiative in 2018, Barbie has taken steps in closing the Dream Gap – having donated over $2 million to like-minded non-profit organizations with the vehicles in place to reach girls. The Barbie Dream Gap Project has developed, piloted, and evaluated unique curricula for kids that introduce them to a wide range of real-life role models and career possibilities, worked with Inspiring Girls to run over 100 Dream Gap workshops in seven countries, and highlighted 250+ careers, empowering 25 million kids and counting, all with the shared goal to create more opportunities for growth for girls on a global scale.   

“Five years marks a tremendous accomplishment for the Barbie Dream Gap Project – and we’re proud of our impact in identifying and removing the barriers to girls’ dreams and brilliance,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, Mattel. “Through the global doll auction and regional empowering activations worldwide, we remain steadfast in our dedication to creating a world that is more supportive of girls’ aspirations. As always, reminding girls they can be anything is the best way to celebrate International Day of the Girl.”   

The global auction hosted by Inspiring Girls International will be held from Wednesday, October 11th to October 30th on Bidding for Good, powered by Frontstream, except for the Bebe Vio doll, which will be available on eBay. All proceeds generated from this auction will support likeminded organizations Inspiring Girls International, Fundación Espacial Katya Echazarreta (proceeds from the Katya doll), and art4sport (proceeds from the Bebe doll). 

As part of the anniversary celebration, Barbie will host a series of Barbie Dream Gap Project virtual workshops and in-person regional activations led by various role models that promote resilience, ambition, and breaking barriers. Barbie is partnering with Inspiring Girls’ #ThisLittleGirlIsMe campaign, for a live stream, hosted by Shonda Rhimes on October 26th. Shonda Rhimes will answer girls’ questions about her career journey and resilience as a woman. 

The brand will also be holding an engaging session on the transformative journey of the Barbie Dream Gap Project at Cause Marketing Summit on November 2nd in New York. The session, “The Power of Research and Cultural Insights in Cause Partnerships: The Evolution of the Barbie Dream Gap Project” will delve into the project’s milestones, impactful initiatives, and guiding research that have been leveraged to empower the next generation of girls. 

The latest research from NYU’s Cognitive Development Lab* revealed that external factors such as biases or limited support are the largest barrier preventing girls from seeing themselves as leaders. We know now that girls have the confidence and a drive to lead, but society is getting in their way. In the next evolution of the Barbie Dream Gap Project, the brand will work to shift our world to be more supportive and hospitable to young girls’ aspirations and dreams. 

Over the next five years, the Barbie Dream Gap Project looks forward to amplifying its impact on a global scale – increasing the investment in role models and representation as key tools for closing the Dream Gap. Acting as a potent catalyst for change, the Barbie Dream Gap Project hopes to inspire a broader movement that reshapes how society perceives and supports girls’ empowerment.

Learn more about the Barbie Dream Gap Project at  

* Gender Gaps in Children’s Interest in Leadership Roles 

About Mattel 

Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain, and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO®, Masters of the Universe®, Monster High® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming and digital experiences, music, and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. Visit us online at

About Inspiring Girls International   

Inspiring Girls International is a global charity dedicated to raising the aspirations of girls by connecting them with female role models. We introduce girls to a range of careers and opportunities in life, with the goal of overcoming gender stereotypes and empowering the next generation of women to be anything they want to be. Find out more about our work around the world and our #ThisLittleGirlIsMe campaign at   

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