The doll of the former first lady is the latest in Barbie's Inspiring Women series

By Rachel DeSantis
March 03, 2021 08:30 AM
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Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt Barbie
| Credit: Barbie

With International Women's Day less than a week away, Barbie is celebrating the best way they know how — with a brand new doll!

A likeness of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt will hit shelves on Wednesday, the latest addition to Barbie's collection of Inspiring Women dolls.

The United States' longest-serving first lady, Roosevelt was also known for her humanitarian efforts, and had a successful career of her own, something that helped redefine what it meant to be a woman in the political sphere and in the public eye.

"We are delighted to welcome former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the Barbie Inspiring Women series and to shine a light on how her perseverance as a champion of policies around civil and economic rights made an impact on the world," Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, tells PEOPLE in a statement. "As the number one global toy property, we believe in the importance of highlighting past and modern-day role models, like Eleanor Roosevelt, to inspire the next generation of changemakers to dream bigger than ever."

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt doll
| Credit: Barbie

Roosevelt served as first lady during husband Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office, from 1933 to 1945. According to her White House biography, she got her first taste of politics while her husband served in the Senate, and she was later active in the women's division of the State Democratic Committee. When her husband was elected president, she took to her new role with ease, and broke precedent by holding press conferences, traveling and penning a daily syndicated newspaper column called "My Day," in which she expressed her own opinions.

She became the United Nations' American spokesman following her husband's death, and continued to work until her own death in 1962 at age 78.

Roosevelt joins a long line of inspirational women to be immortalized in plastic by Barbie, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks and Sally Ride.

Her Barbie doll wears a black, long-sleeved dress decorated with pink and purple flowers, along with black shoes, a pearl necklace and a bowler hat.

The Inspiring Women Series was launched by Barbie in 2018 on International Women's Day as a way to honor "historical role models who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before," PEOPLE previously reported.

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Meanwhile, in honor of International Women's Day on Monday, Barbie also announced this week the launch of the virtual You Can Be Anything series, which will connect young fans with role models like Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi and fashion model and activist Adwoa Aboah.

The virtual series will kick off on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, and will air new content once a week during the month of March at 1 p.m. ET, with topics including Your Voice, Music and Dance, STEAM, and sports and wellness.

Conversations will include 15-30 minute livestreams with "today's most prominent female leaders, trailblazers, and influencers" on Barbie's Facebook and YouTube channels, including Shahidi and Aboah, according to a press release.

Yara shahidi
Yara Shahidi Barbie
| Credit: barbie
Adwoa Aboah
Adwoa Aboah Barbie
| Credit: Barbie

Both Shahidi and Aboah received Barbie dolls of their own likenesses in 2019 as part of the company's collection of "Sheroes" dolls, which featured women ages 19 to 85 in a diverse array of careers. Shahidi represented the U.S., while Aboah did the same for the U.K.

In addition, Barbie's Dream Gap Project, a global initiative to raise awareness of limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential, also announced a new partnership with Girls Leadership. The funding provided by the project will allow the girl-led research project to create a Power Lab school focused on helping boost girls' media representation and self-perception.