Mattel’s Barbie To ‘Increase Black Representation’ And ‘Spotlight More Black Role Models’

Mattel has outlined a number of ways they will “do more” in the fight against racism through their popular Barbie line.

In a statement on their website and on social media, the company writes, “Research shows, starting at the age of five, girls stop believing that their gender can be anything. This issue is called the ‘Dream Gap.’ Early indicators suggest that for Black girls, the impact is even larger and this self-perception at a young age can be detrimental. We are committed to dedicating resources and continuing to fund research that helps us to better understand how to help Black girls close the Dream Gap.”

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The company has come under fire in the past for the lack of diversity and had started to make changes but they will only increase that including making sure “that diversity is represented everywhere you find our products” and introducing “a prominent Black lead in content and publishing”.

The statement adds, “Over the past year, more than half of the women we’ve honoured as Barbie Role Models in the U.S. have been Black. Women previously honoured include Yara Shahidi, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald and Katherine Johnson. Going forward, we commit that more than 50% of future global Role Models honoured will be Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour.”

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Mattel will also increase its Barbie Dream Gap Project donation to $500,000 starting with $250,000 to the NAACP and another “$250,000 to fund educational programs focused on supporting Black girls.”

“We cannot achieve our mission to inspire the limitless potential in every girl without acknowledging the barriers and racism that impact Black girls, specifically,” the statement concludes. “We are committed to showing up, doing the work, and allocating the resources. We know these actions are just the beginning and we will continue to work until the next generation truly believes they can be anything, without the barriers of racial injustice and discrimination.”

The move comes as a number of companies are making changes due to Black Lives Matter protests.

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