August 5, 2021
British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert has many science accolades to her credit but now shares an honor with Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt: a Barbie doll in her likeness.
Toy maker Mattel Inc is recognizing them with a line of Barbie “role model” dolls.
Gilbert’s Barbie shares her long auburn hair and oversized black glasses, and she wears a sensible navy blue pantsuit and white blouse.
“It’s a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness,” Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel.
Among the honorees are emergency room nurse Amy O’Sullivan who treated the first COVID-19 patient at the Wycoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and Audrey Cruz, frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination, according to Mattel.
Other dolls include Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto who battled systemic racism in healthcare, and Brazilian biomedical researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, who led sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil, the company said.
Lastly a doll honors Kirby White, an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers during the pandemic.
Gilbert chose nonprofit organization WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), dedicated to inspiring girls to consider a career in STEM, to receive a financial donation from the toy maker.