June 26, 2018 / 9:25 PM / 3 months ago

Robotics engineer Barbie joins the girls who code

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Barbie, the world’s most iconic doll, is venturing into coding skills in her latest career as a robotics engineer.

The new doll, launched on 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, 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 show girls, for example, how to build robots, get them to move at a dance party, or do jumping jacks.

According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, only 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-funder 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.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang

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