Women's Sport: Mattel celebrates female Olympians with new Barbie range

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Ahead of this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, toy manufacturer, Mattel has released a collection of female Olympic athlete Barbies.

As well as celebrating Tokyo 2020, the new collection has been specifically designed to mark the introduction of five new sports to the Olympic programme; skateboarding, softball, sport climbing, surfing and karate, as each Barbie doll comes fitted with the sportswear and equipment necessary to exceed in their sport. 

The doll collection will be featured at Barbie's 'You Can Be Anything' Festival next month in Los Angeles where the toy brand plan to partner with female Olympians. Rock climber Kyra Condie and skateboarder Lizzie Armanton will both be in attendance, alongside the dolls, to help inspire the next generation of sportswomen.

The new line of toys have been created in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee and will be available this spring.

"The collection highlights inclusivity and innovation, with toys reflecting the five new sports added to the Olympic program in Tokyo – baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing – all to inspire a new generation of athletes and fans around the world," said a spokesperson for Mattel.

This new collection comes after Mattel and Barbie released their Inspiring Women series of dolls in 2018 to help inspire and educate young girls around the world. The manufacturers honoured Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart. Each toy came with educational material and authentic clothing, much like Mattel's new Olympic collection. 

"By celebrating their achievements with dolls made in their likeness, we hope girls will be inspired to pursue their dreams", Mattel told CNN in 2018.

What was once nothing more than a fashion doll to play with, has now become an educational tool to help inspire, teach and encourage young girls across the world. Girls are constantly faced with sporting barriers and it's been proven that young females are less likely to participate in sports, but with this new collection of Olympic dolls, Mattel and Barbie are showing young girls that sport is for them and are therefore diminishing the gender pay gap. 

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