WHAT IS THE DREAM GAP?

Starting at age 5, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs.1 They stop believing their gender can do or be anything. This is the Dream Gap, and this is the year Barbie begins working to close it. As the original girl empowerment brand, we're proud to announce the Dream Gap Project, an ongoing global initiative that aims to give girls the resources and support they need to continue to believe that they can be anything.

#CloseTheDreamGap

WHY IT MATTERS

Research shows that children pick up on cultural stereotypes at a very young age that suggest women aren't as smart as men. These stereotypes are often perpetuated by the media and grown-ups who subtly reinforce them.

The self-limiting beliefs these stereotypes create can snowball to affect a girl's trajectory and future career choices. They may even discourage women to pursue prestigious careers, especially in fields that value brilliance.

  • Girls are 3X less likely to be given a science-related toy than boys.2

  • Parents are 2X more likely to ask Google "is my son gifted?" than "is my daughter gifted?"3

  • As girls grow older, they lose confidence in their smarts relative to boys.4

WHAT BARBIE IS DOING

This year, Barbie is kicking off the Dream Gap Project, an ongoing global initiative that includes funding research, highlighting positive role models, and producing inspiring content and products.

  • RESEARCH STUDY

    Finding more ways to help her believe.

    We're committed to learning more about the Dream Gap and how we can help. This is a highly under-researched issue that needs our attention, so we'll be funding a research program in collaboration with Associate Professor Andrei Cimpian from New York University. Globally, we're working with local researchers to identify what issues may be holding girls back from fulfilling their potential around the world.

  • ROLE MODELS

    Seeing she can helps her believe she can.

    We're committed to highlighting at least 10 empowering female role models each year. Because imagining she can be anything is just the beginning, actually seeing that she can makes all the difference. We'll also be dedicating research to identify the most effective ways to share role model stories with girls that will inspire them and their futures.

    LEARN MORE
  • CONTENT

    Impactful content inspires her to believe.

    We're committed to creating inspiring content that is centered around "teachable moments." With content being one of the most powerful vehicles to reach girls, we'll continue to infuse meaningful lessons across all touchpoints-addressing the issues that girls face in a unique and approachable way.

    WATCH ON YOUTUBE
  • PRODUCTS

    Purposeful play helps her believe.

    We're committed to making products that allow girls to play out their dreams while showing them they have choices. From our Inspiring Women series to highlighting underrepresented careers, our products encourage imagination, expression and discovery through play.

    SHOP NOW

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Together, we can help the next generation of girls transcend the Dream Gap.

Below are some ways you can support the girls in your life.

  • Exposure to Positive Role Models

    Show girls positive female role models of all ages. By introducing them to stories and journeys of women from all walks of life, they begin to see more opportunities for themselves.

  • Challenge Gender Stereotypes

    Limit exposure to media that reinforces negative stereotypes. Instead, expose girls to content that challenges gender stereotypes.

  • Nurture Social and Emotional Learning

    Nurture their social and emotional learning through themes like overcoming challenges, collaborating with others, dealing with negative emotions, believing in yourself, etc.

  • Emphasize the Importance of Hard Work

    Studies suggest that everyone does better when hard work is believed to be the key to success. When kids believe they can get smarter through dedication and hard work, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

  • Do Confidence-Building Activities

    Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.

  • Stimulate Their Imaginations

    Encourage discovery through open-ended, unstructured play that fosters divergent thinking and innovation.

  • Support Their Dreams

    Actively encourage the girls in your life to pursue their dreams. Show and tell girls they can do anything.

Join the conversation.
#CloseTheDreamGap

1Study conducted by researchers at New York University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton University.

2OECD, Education Indicators in Focus, October 2017. 3US Google Trends. 4Omnibus study by Enso.