Home LIFE + STYLE Barbie® Celebrates International Women’s Day by Honouring Canadian Tech Entrepreneur to Inspire...

Barbie® Celebrates International Women’s Day by Honouring Canadian Tech Entrepreneur to Inspire the Next Generation of Female Leaders


In Canada, Barbie recognizes Melissa Sariffodeen, a tech entrepreneur, leader, and big thinker, with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in her likeness. Melissa is best known as the CEO and Co-Founder of Canada Learning Code, a nation-wide program that ensures women and youth receive the critical skills, confidence, and opportunities they need to become passionate builders of technology.

“I have been a fan of Barbie since I was a child, playing with the dolls and making clothes for them. It was an important outlet for imagination and creativity – a chance to be anyone and anything,” commended Melissa Sariffodeen. “I still play with Barbie dolls today and see them as an opportunity to share positive messages about technology and computer science. I am truly honoured to be a Barbie Role Model and I hope that I can inspire girls, especially those interested in technology, to have big dreams, work hard and never stop reaching for their limitless potential.”

Throughout the world, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles.* In fact, NYU’s Cognitive Development Lab research** led by Professor of Psychology,  Dr. Andrei Cimpian, and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Andrea Vial, whose post-doctoral fellowship was funded by Mattel, uncovered that girls aged 5-10 are less likely to raise their hand for leadership positions, such as stepping up to be in charge of a group activity, and also perceive social backlash from volunteering to take on more responsibility. However, in the final stage of the study, researchers found that when exposed to female role models, girls – and boys – are more likely to volunteer to lead a group activity. This latest finding expands on “Dream Gap” research that has shown that starting at age five, girls start doubting their potential and lose confidence in their own competence.

To help close the “Dream Gap,” Barbie is working on an exciting partnership to introduce more girls to technology. Visit the Barbie Canada Facebook page in the coming days for more information.

“We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models who’ve daringly pushed past roadblocks and overcome the “Dream Gap” to become the brave women they are today,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. “This International Women’s Day, we’re proud to honor 12 global trailblazing women to help empower the next generation of female leaders by sharing their stories.”

Barbie is marking International Women’s Day and inspiring girls to dream big around the world by:

  • HONORING 12 GLOBAL FEMALE ROLE MODELS TO REMIND GIRLS THEY CAN BE ANYTHING by shining a light on women who are leaders in their respective industries of tech, wellness, STEM, education and more with one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls in their likeness. The global lineup of role models includes:
    • Melissa Sariffodeen (Canada) – CEO and Co-Founder of Canada Learning Code and Ladies Learning Code
    • Shonda Rhimes (United States) – Founder of American Television Production Company Shondaland
    • Ari Horie (United States/Japan) – Founder & CEO, Women’s Startup Lab and Women’s Startup Lab Impact Foundation
    • Pat McGrath (United Kingdom) – Makeup Artist and Founder of Pat McGrath Labs 
    • Adriana Azuara (Mexico) – Founder of All4Spas  
    • Doani Emanuela Bertain (Brazil) – Teacher and Founder of Sala 8  
    • Jane Martino (Newton) (Australia) – Chair and Co-Founder of Smiling Mind
    • Lan Yu (China) – Fashion Designer 
    • Butet Manurung (Indonesia) – Founder and Director of SOKOLA
    • Sonia Peronaci (Italy) – Founder of Italian food website, ‘GialloZafferano’ 
    • Tijen Onaran (Germany) – CEO and Founder of Global Digital Women and Co-Founder of ACI Diversity Consulting 
    • Lena Mahfouf (France) – Digital Creator, Videographer and Author of ‘Always More’
  • CELEBRATING BARBIE IN NFT ART COLLECTION in partnership with Boss Beauties, a female-led global initiative that creates opportunities for girls and women through cutting-edge collaborations
    • Barbie NFT featuring a diverse assortment of Barbie careers will be part of the Boss Beauties Role Models NFT collection, designed to empower women and girls at the forefront of technology and creativity, alongside other trailblazing figures.
    • The Barbie NFT will be auctioned by Boss Beauties between March 9-12th via OpenSea, with proceeds benefiting the Barbie Dream Gap Project.

*According to 2020/21 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report: Thriving through Crisis.
This work was funded by Mattel, Inc.’s Dream Gap Postdoctoral Fellowship in Child Development granted to Vial.


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