Barbie earns her captain’s stripes on Virgin Atlantic

Sep 10, 2019

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It’s Barbie’s world, and we’re all just living in it … Just ask Virgin Atlantic.

On Monday, the airline announced a trio of special-edition dolls made in partnership with Barbie UK. It’s part of Barbie’s Dream Gap Project, an initiative to “level the playing field for girls globally” while showing young girls and women they can be and do anything they dream — including flying and maintaining airplanes.

Barbie has held more than 200 careers in her 60-year history, according to Virgin. Now, the airline is hoping the dolls serve as an inspiration to women around the world to pursue careers in aviation, especially since research shows that girls start to develop “self-limiting beliefs” — as in, they can or cannot do something because of their gender — at only 5 years old. Dawn Childs, president of the Women’s Engineering Society, said in a statement, “The fact that so many young girls narrow their career prospects from an early age by believing that some roles and jobs simply are not for them is a tragedy.”

These are exactly the type of assumptions the Dream Gap Project is trying to counteract.

The one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls include a Virgin Atlantic pilot, engineer and flight attendant, all of which feature true-to-life Virgin Atlantic uniforms while representing women of all different skin tones and body types.

With sensible flats, trousers and a pilot’s uniform complete with wings, Barbie has finally earned the four stripes of a Virgin Atlantic captain.

Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Details for the engineer doll include an access lanyard and noise-cancelling headphones.

Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

AvGeeks will especially like the cabin crew doll, since she pays tribute to the iconic red Virgin Atlantic Vivienne Westwood uniform.

Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic
Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

While details on pricing are scarce, we’ve been told the pilot and cabin crew dolls will be on sale on board and in stores later this year, so watch out during your next Virgin Atlantic flight.

In a statement, Nikki Humphrey, senior vice president at Virgin Atlantic, said, “We know that women are currently underrepresented across a number of careers within aviation. We also know we can’t change this position overnight. Therefore, it’s imperative we play the long-game, highlighting to primary aged children that any job role is open.” Haley explained that, by working with Barbie, Virgin Atlantic can “speak directly to our future generation of aviation professionals, whether they aspire to be cabin crew, engineers or pilots.”

The partnership with Virgin was created to inspire and encourage more women to pursue both STEM and aviation careers. Through Virgin’s Passport for Change program and its charity partner, WE, the airline also aims to inspire girls by hosting a “Future Flyer” day at Virgin’s headquarters, highlighting various employees as role models, and even organizing visits to the airline’s engineering hangars.

Featured image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

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