Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with iconic doll brand Barbie to create a range of new aviation-themed dolls – yes, there’s a cabin crew doll included in the range but there’s also a Virgin Atlantic engineer and pilot Barbie as well. The point is to highlight to young women that they too can pursue many different career paths within the airline industry.
That, of course, hasn’t always been the case. In days gone by, women were encouraged only to work in menial front line customer service roles like cabin crew or check-in agents. The gender imbalance remains today and according to Virgin Atlantic, women only account for 4.3 per cent of pilots in the UK.
The airline says the industry is “dominated by men” – especially in leadership roles and what are known as STEM careers – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Like a number of other airlines, Virgin Atlantic is trying to change that and it hopes the collaboration with Barbie is one way of doing that.
Virgin Atlantic has said of the partnership:
“Research has identified that many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs at age five, and doubt their full potential – this is called the Dream Gap. To champion change, Barbie launched the Dream Gap Project, an on-going initiative with the goal of levelling the playing field for girls globally. Our partnership aims to highlight role models to show girls they can be anything and help close the Dream Gap.”
Obviously, this isn’t the first time that Barbie has taken on a different career and despite the doll’s traditional image, the inventor maintains that Barbie was created so that girls could play out their dreams – they could be anything they wanted to be. In fact, Barbie has had 200 different careers since being launched in 1959.
“It’s essential we showcase to girls of all ages just how fulfilling a career in our industry can be and our partnership with Barbie is just one of the steps we’re undertaking to achieve this,” explained Phil Maher, the airline’s EVP of Operations.
Unfortunately, there’s bad news if you want to get your hands on one of these dolls. The dolls in the pictures above are one of a kind and aren’t available to purchase. Thankfully, Virgin does plan to start selling the cabin crew and pilot dolls onboard its flights at some point later in the year. In the meantime, Barbie is selling its own generic pilot doll and a whole raft of other career go-getting dolls.