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November 8, 2010 / TechFemme

Barbie Joins the Women In Tech Community

Introducing Computer Engineer Barbie

Naturally, Computer Engineer Barbie will be polarizing.  Admittedly, I wasn’t initially all that thrilled about it.  She still has her unnatural proportions, too-perfect teeth and fashion that screams trendy rather than geeky.   But now her accessories are glasses, a laptop bag and a computer balanced perfectly on one forearm.  And that’s a good thing.

Mattel claims that a Barbie doll is sold every three seconds, which equates to over a billion dolls sold in over 150 countries since she was born.  So what if she’s not all that realisitc.  Neither are so many toys that kids play with these days.  Yes, she’s sporting a bluetooth headset no serious computer engineer would be caught dead wearing, but let’s think big picture here.  Almost all little girls recognize and play with Barbies.  It’s a huge win for the Women in Tech community if they’re playing with a Computer Engineer Barbie.  The name of the game in getting more of these girls interested in technology is exposing them to it.  Unless we can get Dora The Explorer to start writing code or Hillary Duff to be the technical co-founder of  a web-based startup, I can think of very few ways to get mass exposure to young girls for Computer Engineering.

I don’t care how or why Mattel’s new Computer Engineer Babie looks the way she does.  But I love that she exists and I can buy her for $12.99 for every little girl aged 3 years or older on my Christmas List.  And if we’re ever going to get girls to consider tech career options, then CE Barbie belongs up on the toy shelves right beside her Doctor Barbie and Race Car Driver Barbie counterparts.

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