Barbie, the world’s most iconic doll, is venturing into coding skills in her latest career as a robotics engineer.
The new doll, launched Tuesday, aims to encourage girls as young as seven to learn real coding skills, thanks to a partnership with the kids game-based computing platform Tynker, toymaker Mattel said.
Robotics engineer Barbie, dressed in jeans, a graphic T-shirt and denim jacket and wearing safety glasses, comes with six free Barbie-inspired coding lessons designed to teach logic, problem solving and the building blocks of coding.
The lessons, for example, show girls how to build robots, get them to move at a dance party, or do jumping jacks.
According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, 24 percent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs were held by women in 2017.
Barbie has held more than 200 careers in her almost 60-year life, including president, video game developer and astronaut.
Tynker co-founder Krishna Vedati said in a statement that the company’s mission to empower youth worldwide made Barbie an ideal partner “to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun engaging way.”
From fears that eating chicken wings makes it hard to find a husband to beliefs that pineapple jeopardizes fertility, a host of food taboos are fueling malnutrition among Indonesian girls, experts said as they launched an adolescent health drive.
Nutritionists said girls ate very little protein, vegetables or fruit, preferring to fill up with rice and processed snacks which were often sweet or fried.
“Indonesian girls are being left behind when it comes to nutrition,” said Kecia Bertermann of Girl Effect, a non-profit that uses mobile technology to empower girls.
“They don’t understand why their health is important, nor how nutrition is connected to doing well at school, at work or for their futures.”
The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says Indonesia has some of the world’s most troubling nutrition statistics.
Two in five adolescent girls are thin due to undernutrition, which is a particular concern given many girls begin childbearing in their teens.
Experts said the food taboos were part of a wider system of cultural and social habits leading to poor adolescent nutrition, which could impact girls’ education and opportunities.
One myth is that cucumber stimulates excessive vaginal discharge, another that eating pineapple can prevent girls from conceiving later on or cause miscarriages in pregnant women.
Others believe spicy food can cause appendicitis and make breast milk spicy, oily foods can cause sore throats and peanuts can cause acne, while chicken feet – like chicken wings – can cause girls to struggle finding a husband.
Research by Girl Effect found urban girls ate little or no breakfast, snacked on “empty foods” throughout the day and thought feeling full was the same as being well nourished.
Snacks tended to be carbohydrate-heavy, leaving girls short of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Girl Effect is teaming up with global organization Nutrition International to improve girls’ eating habits via its Springster mobile app, a platform providing interactive content for girls on health and social issues.
If successful, the initiative could be expanded to the Philippines and Nigeria.
Experts said Indonesia was a country with “a double burden of malnutrition” with some people stunted and others overweight but also lacking micronutrients.
Marion Roche, a specialist in adolescent health at Nutrition International, said the poor nutritional knowledge among girls was particularly striking given infant nutrition had improved in Indonesia.