Mattel recently unveiled the newest Barbie in its Inspiring Women series—a doll made in the likeness of world-renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall. The new Barbie doll is launched in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute and accompanies the introduction of a number of eco-initiatives the two organizations will spearhead together. But what really makes the Jane Goodall Barbie so unique is that it is the brand’s first signature doll to be made of recycled ocean-bound plastic.
Barbie’s Inspiring Women series aims to pay tribute to incredible women throughout history, so it’s fitting that they would choose such a subject for their latest doll. “Kids need more role models like Dr. Jane Goodall, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning—seeing it makes all the difference,” says Lisa McKnight, executive VP and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
“We hope that this collection and homage to a groundbreaking pioneer for women in science and conservation inspires kids to learn more about green careers, how they can protect the planet, and act out sustainable stories through doll play,” she continues.
Goodall is most well-known for her ground-breaking research and field study of chimpanzees. Launched just before World Chimpanzee Day on July 14, the doll’s release also happens to perfectly coincide with the 62-year anniversary of Dr. Goodall’s first foray into the jungle of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where she first began her immersive research when she was just 26 years old.
“I wanted a doll to be me even before this idea came up. I've seen…little girls playing with Barbie dolls and certainly at the beginning, they were all very girly girly, and I thought little girls need…some choice,” Dr. Goodall shares. “Mattel has changed its range of dolls and there's all kinds of astronauts and doctors and things like that. So many children learn about me at school. They'll be thrilled to have the Barbie doll.”
The doll’s attire and accessories are meant to reflect what the budding primatologist actually would have worn in the field back in the early 1960s. The Jane Goodall Barbie wears a khaki button-down, shorts, and black boots, and comes equipped with her trusty field notebook and binoculars as well. Of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without her chimpanzee companion, David Graybeard, the first Gombe chimp to trust and bond with Dr. Goodall during her research. The primate holds a wooden stick, which she noted that the animals used as tools to catch termites to eat.
Of all the Jane Goodall Barbie doll’s plastic parts and accessories, 90% are made of recycled plastic. And they made sure to box the toy in sustainable packaging as well. In addition to these eco-friendly initiatives, Mattel is also partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots youth program to teach kids about their social and environmental impact and how they can make a change.
“My entire career, I’ve wanted to help inspire kids to be curious and explore the world around them—just like I did when I first traveled to Tanzania 62 years ago. I’m thrilled to partner with Barbie and encourage young children to learn from their environment and feel a sense that they can make a difference,” says Dr. Jane Goodall. “Through this partnership, I hope to inspire the next generation of eco-leaders to join me in protecting our planet and remind them they can be anything, anywhere—on the field, in the lab, and at the table.”