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By Amy Thompson, Chief People Officer
October 11th is International Day of the Girl, a day marked by the United Nations to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. This day is especially meaningful to us at Mattel because our purpose is to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.
In honor of International Day of the Girl, I’d like to share the powerful ways Mattel is leveraging purposeful play and our iconic brands to advance girls, and the internal efforts to support women at Mattel that have earned us a place on the Forbes 2021 list for America’s Best Employers for Women.
Barbie Shares You Can Be Anything
Following International Day of the Girl, Barbie will continue its You Can be Anything series on Barbie’s YouTube channel. The series shares stories of inspirational women and their journeys to encourage the next generation of girls to pursue bigger dreams.
Two new episodes hosted by Barbie and gold medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez will put the spotlight on creativity, self-expression, dressing for success and making their dreams come true. Viewers will hear from music producer Ester Dean, DJ Sparkle, reporter and artist Shayna Rose, an astronaut, a veterinarian, a medical hero, and track and field athlete Sydney McLaughlin.
Barbie Inspires Girls to Pursue Underrepresented Careers
As part of our ongoing Dream Gap Project, Barbie is dedicated to leveling the playing field for girls in careers where women are underrepresented.
The recently launched Barbie Music Producer is a doll designed to introduce girls to a career where women make up less than 3% of music producers and highlight the importance of women in the industry. Barbie also teamed up with MTV to spotlight current music produced by women to inspire the next generation to follow their lead.
Barbie partnered with the European Space Agency ESA and its only active European female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, to celebrate ‘Women in Space’ and to inspire girls everywhere to pursue careers in space and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), another field underrepresented by women.
American Girl’s World by Us Introduces Diverse Storylines
In September, American Girl introduced its new World by Us cast of characters—Makena, Evette, and Maritza—whose stories reflect several important social issues, including racial equality, environmentalism, and immigration, and the value of working together to create a better world.
Increasing Representation of Women at Mattel
One of Mattel’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Goals is to increase the representation of women at all levels of the organization. This focus on gender diversity leads to products and experiences that better reflect our girl audiences and create positive social impact.
I shared in a recent post how women comprise the majority of the workforce at Mattel, which grew by 2% in 2021 to 58%. Women also accounted for nearly 60% of all promotions over the past year, and, separately, at the VP and above levels, 50% of new hires were women.
Advancing Women with Employee Resource Groups and Mentorship Program
We believe we are at our best at Mattel when every member of our team feels respected, included, and heard. Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) play a pivotal role in creating an inclusive employee experience.
Women of Mattel (WoM) is an ERG that fosters community, provides enrichment and inspiration to its members, and assists in attracting, retaining and promoting women talent. The group focuses on providing a structured mentorship program for employees and connecting with employees in real-time on relevant cultural, personal and professional growth issues. WoM is expanding its influence globally with new chapters forming this year in all our regions.
WoM is also sponsoring 150 Mattel women to attend Women Leaders X, Rising Stronger Together to further broaden networks and inspire leadership development.
The first of its kind in the toy industry for women, Mattel launched the Ruth Handler Mentorship Program for Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) in 2020. The program is designed to advance career growth across the toy industry through mentorship, coaching, professional development, and learning.
Building Young Female Leaders with GenHERation
To help advance young women, Mattel partnered with GenHERation, a network where young women in high school and college connect with leaders at the most innovative companies in America. Mattel professionals participated in this year’s GenHERation Connection 2021, a weeklong program for students to learn from industry experts, participate in skill-building simulations, and take part in mentoring sessions.
International Day of the Girl reminds us of the continued importance of amplifying girls' voices and reinforcing their capacity as strong leaders. As we look to the future, Mattel will continue to find opportunities to leverage our iconic brands and advance our female talent to create a world that is more relevant and inclusive for girls and women everywhere.