Mattel
By Julia Webster
August 27, 2019

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks is being honored with her own Barbie doll.

The toy company Mattel unveiled the new doll for Women’s Equality Day on August 26 as part of a range dedicated to celebrating inspiring women.

Parks became known as “the mother of the civil rights movement” after she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Alabama. Her arrest in 1955 started the Montgomery Bus Boycott which led to the desegregation of the transport system.

The Rosa Parks doll is part of the Inspiring Women Series, dolls based on historical figures that come with educational information about the contributions each woman made to society, as well as authentic clothing, according to CNN.

The series also includes a doll honoring Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

Mattel unveiled the Inspiring Women Series to mark International Women’s Day last year, with 17 new dolls representing real women to serve as role models that included Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, artist and activist Frida Kahlo and Wonder Woman filmmaker Patty Jenkins.

“Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything,” Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President And General Manager of Barbie, said in a statement.

The company’s decision was based on a global survey of mothers, in which 86% said they were worried about the kind of role models their daughters were exposed to.

Some have criticized the new dolls for maintaining the unrealistic proportions and features of the original Barbie.

In 2016, Mattel released three new types of Barbie: curvy, petite and tall. The company was praised for opening up to diverse body types, following the introduction of new skin tones and hair textures the previous year. The first Barbie to wear a hijab was introduced in 2017.

Earlier this year, Mattel introduced a wheelchair Barbie and one with a prosthetic leg.

Write to Julia Webster at julia.webster@time.com.

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