LONDON: Toymaker Mattel has introduced its first Barbie with Down Syndrome in a bid to make its famed doll range more inclusive.
In a statement yesterday, Mattel said it had worked with the National Down Syndrome Society in the United States to make the doll, which has a shorter frame and longer torso than its other Barbies.
The new doll’s face is also a rounder shape, and has almond-shaped eyes, smaller ears and a flat nasal bridge, Mattel said.
“The doll’s palms even include a single line, a characteristic often associated with those with Down Syndrome,” it added.
The doll is dressed in a puff sleeved frock adorned with butterflies and flowers in yellow and blue – colours associated with Down Syndrome awareness.
She wears a pink necklace with three upward chevrons, representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome, as well as pink ankle foot orthotics, Mattel said.
“Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves,” executive vice-president Lisa McKnight said in a statement.
National Down Syndrome Society president Kandi Pickard said it was an “honour” to have worked with the toymaker on this new Barbie doll.
“This means so much for our community who, for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them.
“This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”