The cause of equality in IT careers got a boost this month from a somewhat unlikely source: Barbie.
As revealed on the official website
(warning, it's a PDF), every little girls' favourite vacuous blonde's 126th career is that of Computer Engineer - complete with "a shiny laptop
" on which to do some 1337 code hacking.
Interestingly, the change of career appears to have given Barbie myopia, as she now comes equipped with "stylish pink-frame glasses
" which she hasn't needed in any of her previous 125 careers - but stereotypes aside, Computer Engineer Barbie comes equipped with everything a modern geek girl needs: "a Barbie® smart phone, fashionable laptop case, flat watch and Bluetooth earpiece,
" alongside the aforementioned laptop making her "ready to conquer the day's tasks on the go or from her desk.
For those who are afraid that Barbie's journey into the world of computer science would mean she would have to give up on her noted sense of fashion, good news: Computer Engineer Barbie comes dressed in "a t-shirt featuring binary code and [a ] computer/keyboard icon along with a pair of black knit skinny pants,
" designed to be "representative of a real computer engineer
Better yet, those deciding to buy Computer Engineer Barbie get "a special code to unlock exclusive online game content on Barbie.com,
" in order to "further experience the reality of being a computer engineer
" - which is to say, playing on-line Flash games.
In all seriousness, the latest Barbie to come out of the Mattel factories has the thumbs-up from some pretty influential people in the computer science industry: no less than Nora Lin, the president of the Society of Women Engineers, believes that "as a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can design products that have an important and positive impact on people's everyday lives, such as inventing a technology to conserve home energy or programming a newborn monitoring device.
The Computer Engineer Barbie is currently available for pre-order directly from Mattel, and will be hitting shops towards the end of this year.
Are you pleased to see Barbie getting a more modern career choice, or is the plastic wonder doing more harm than good to the cause of women in engineering? Share your thoughts over in the forums