LONDON (NewsNation Now) — British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert has many science accolades to her credit but now shares an honor with Beyoncé, Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt: a Barbie doll in her likeness.
Gilbert, a 59-year-old professor at Oxford University and co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is one of six women in the COVID-19 fight who have new Barbies modeled after them.
Toy maker Mattel Inc is recognizing them with a line of Barbie “role model” dolls.
Gilbert’s Barbie shares her long auburn hair and oversized black glasses, and she wears a sensible navy blue pantsuit and white blouse.
“It’s a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness,” Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel. “I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science.”
Gilbert also received damehood by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to vaccine developments against emerging viruses.
Other doctors, nurses and scientists received their own dolls as a part of Barbie’s tribute to COVID-19 first responders.
Emergency room nurse Amy O’Sullivan who treated the first COVID-19 patient at the Wycoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York and Audrey Cruz, a frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination received their own figures.
Other dolls include Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto who battled systemic racism in healthcare, and Brazilian biomedical researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, who led sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil, the company said.
Lastly a doll honors Kirby White, an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers during the pandemic.
Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel in a press release announcing the new dolls.
Gilbert chose nonprofit organization WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), dedicated to inspiring girls to consider a career in STEM, to receive a financial donation from the toy maker.
For every doctor, nurse and paramedic doll sold, $5 will be donated to the First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Reuters contributed to this report
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