Is ‘Barbie: Computer Engineer’ A Good Role Model For Women In IT?

I’m all for giving young girls more role models, but can’t we do it in a less pneumatically enhanced package? It sends the wrong message – one that says, “yes, girls you too can have it all – the career and the brains as long as you don’t forget to be pert and lovely every step of the way!” The professional women I work with as an executive coach already have enough of that baggage to shed throughout their lives – they don’t need the expectation to “do it all – if you can keep up the flawless package” rammed down their throats any earlier in their childhood. I say this because Barbie, the toy doll that is a perennial favourite among girls, has been assigned a new career – computer engineer. I agree with the sentiments of Karen Petrie, a computing lecturer at the University of Dundee who said: “We want girls to consider [IT] as a career, and not be turned off by the image… of a spotty boy sitting in the corner, unable to hold a conversation.” However, it isn’t a doll that will encourage more women into this traditionally male dominated field but more women who are making real advances in their IT careers  – and getting the flexibility they need to do that.

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