Breaking stereotypes and how! European Space Agency and the American toy manufacturing multi-national Mattel Inc. have collaborated to release an Astronaut Barbie doll, Samantha Cristoforetti, to inspire a generation of girls to become space explorers in future.

The announcement of the release was made to commemorate Women In Space, this year’s theme for World Space Week 2021.

“ESA and @Mattel have released an @AstroSamantha@Barbie doll to coincide with #WorldSpaceWeek2021 and its theme of #WomenInSpace, together with @WIA_Europe to encourage girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists,” tweeted European Space Agency on October 4, in repsonse to which Barbie’s official twitter handle responded with a #YouCanBeAnything.

“By highlighting real-life heroes who break boundaries in space, Barbie hopes to inspire a new generation of girls to shoot for the moon. Tap to learn about the contributions of #Barbie Role Models like Samantha Cristoforetti, Katherine Johnson, and Sally Ride. #YouCanBeAnything,” posted Barbie’s official Twitter handle with images of Samantha Cristoforetti, the aviator and ESA astronaut, Sally Ride, American astronaut and physicist and Katherine Johnson, mathematician and aerospace technologist.

Designed after the real life European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristiforetti, who will go back up in space in 2022, the doll is now available across Europe and ESA has announced that a part of proceeds from its sale will be donated to Women in Aerospace Europe organisation.

Excited by the announcement, Cristoforetti wrote, “I think I can spot a mini-crewmate in training who will fly to space with us 😉 Thanks @esa and @Mattel! And of course this is addressed to all children. Boys, you are free to play with dolls too and we are excited about some of you one day joining the space community!” in a Twitter blog post.

This is not ESA’s first collaboration with Barbie, back in 2019 ESA had arranged for two uniwue Samantha figures to be used by Barbie Mattel Italia to promote their ‘Dream Gap Project’, which focused on teaching young girls that they can take up activities deemed ‘unsuitable’ for girls too.

According to the research, a lot of women missed out on potentially highly paid careers due to lack of confidence in their Math skills, right from school.

Also read: NASA debuts comic book universe with ‘First Woman’ Callie Rodriguez

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