Mattel is paying tribute to some of the world’s most inspirational figures ahead of International Women’s Day.

Seventeen motivational women from around the world have just been immortalised in plastic—including two whose stories began rather close to home.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Mattel has created the special-edition Barbie dolls as part of its Shero and new Inspirational Women ranges.

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Among those honoured are three historical icons; aviator Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, with the women selected representing many backgrounds and industries.


Also getting a shout-out in the modern-day category are Turkish windsurfer Çağla Kubat and Iranian-born designer Leyla Piedayesh, alongside Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, conservationist Bindi Irwin and British boxer Nicola Adams.

“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honouring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Barbie’s senior vice president and general manager, Lisa McKnight, said in a press release.

“Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

Kubat is a champion windsurfer who is part of the Fenerbahçe sailing and windsurfing team, and also founded her own windsurfing school for young students.

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The Izmir-born athlete also represented Turkey at Miss Universe 2002, and has starred as an actress in two TV shows.

Piedayesh, who was born in Tehran and now lives in Germany, is the founder of fashion label lala Berlin, which specialises in fine knits.

Each of the brand-new Sheroes will get a one-of-a-kind doll, which are not expected to be sold in stores, but the three Inspiring Women (Johnson, Kahlo and Earhart) are now available on Mattel’s website.

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The new Shero releases will join an already existing line of empowering dolls, which includes Barbie’s first hijabi figurine.

The American toy brand modelled the doll after barrier-breaking athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete at the Olympic Games while wearing a hijab.

“Through playing with Barbie, I was able to imagine and dream about who I could become,” Muhammad said when the doll was unveiled last year.

“I love that my relationship with Barbie has come full circle, and now I have my own doll wearing a hijab that the next generation of girls can use to play out their own dreams.”

“To be included in this conversation is very humbling and I’m over the moon about this whole thing.”

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Images: Çağla Kubat/Instagram