Virgin’s Barbie dolls on Israel flight inspires young girls to reach for the sky

Virgin’s Barbie dolls on Israel flight inspires young girls to reach for the sky

Airline marked voyage to Tel Aviv by with one-of-a-kind dolls clutched by cabin crew, to highlight underrepresentation of women within aviation

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

If it was a surprise to see a woman pilot on Virgin Atlantic’s outward flight from London to Tel Aviv last week, it was even more of a surprise to see the officer clutching a Barbie doll — dressed from head to foot in a copy of the Virgin Atlantic pilot’s uniform.

All became clear when it was announced that Virgin had teamed up with Mattell, the makers of the Barbie doll, in order to encourage young girls to take literally the mantra that “the sky’s the limit” for careers.

Research indicates that less than five per cent of UK pilots are women, and that only 12 per cent of the UK engineering workforce is female.

Working together, Virgin and Mattell have created three one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls — a Barbie pilot, a Barbie engineer, and a Barbie cabin crew member, each one of whom is decked out in VA uniforms. From November the partnership will see visits to primary schools from real-life women pilots and engineers.

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Nikki Humphrey, a 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 and our partnership with Barbie marks another milestone in our commitment to this”.

Limited edition versions of the dolls will be available to buy on all Virgin Atlantic flights.

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