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New Barbie doll celebrates Aussie role model

Melissa Iaria, June 17, 2021 6:45PM NCA NewsWire

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Former foreign minister Julie Bishop donates her red high heel shoes to the Australian Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra, ACT, in 2018. Picture: AAP media_cameraFormer foreign minister Julie Bishop donates her red high heel shoes to the Australian Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra, ACT, in 2018. Picture: AAP


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Julie Bishop has been honoured with her own Barbie doll.

Ms Bishop, Australia’s first female foreign affairs minister, has had a doll made in her likeness for being honoured as Barbie’s official 2021 role model for Australia.

Toy company Mattel, which makes Barbies, hailed* Ms Bishop as a “true trailblazer*” as part of its annual celebration of role models breaking boundaries to show girls they can be anything.

The doll even clasps a miniature Australian passport, in recognition of Ms Bishop’s years as the nation’s chief diplomat*, and wears the blue suit and famous red satin high-heeled shoes she wore on the day she resigned. The outfit was seen as a bold statement and a symbol of solidarity* and empowerment* among Australian women at the time.

Assignment Freelance Picture Barbie reveals Julie Bishop, as Official 2021 Role Model for Australia media_cameraJulie Bishop with the Barbie in her likeness, Mattel’s 2021 Role Model for Australia.

Ms Bishop said she was “thrilled” to be honoured.

“I have been a fan of Barbie since I was a very little girl. And Barbie asked me this year if I would accept this honour and I was just delighted,” she told Nine’s Today program on Wednesday.

Ms Bishop revealed she still had the Jackie Kennedy* Barbie her parents gave her as a little girl in the 1960s.

“She is wearing a fake fur and she looks like Jackie Kennedy did back in the ’60s. So I played with this little doll and just dreamt of being a glamorous First Lady*,” she said.

Mattel described Ms Bishop as a model of empowerment for girls and a woman of firsts.

Ms Bishop was also the first woman to serve as deputy leader of the Liberal Party in her 20-year political career.

Julie Bishop honoured with her own Barbie doll (The Today Show)

Known for her interest in fashion, she also set up a partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Fashion Chamber to promote and nurture* Australian fashion designers and connect them with their counterparts* overseas.

Today, she is the first female chancellor* of the Australian National University and a member of the newly formed G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, championing* the principles of freedom, opportunity and dignity* for women and girls globally.

“I hope it will encourage young women and girls to aspire* to set big goals, work hard to achieve them and be leaders in their field,” Ms Bishop said.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet The Honorable Julie Bishop, M.P., The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, during the United Nations General Assembly reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y., Sept. 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon) media_cameraPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Julie Bishop when she was Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs during a United Nations General Assembly reception in New York, US, in 2013. Picture: Official White House Photo


  • hailed: praised enthusiastically
  • trailblazer: doing something no one has done before
  • diplomat: official representing a country overseas
  • solidarity: standing together, especially against opposing views
  • empowerment: becoming stronger and more confident to try something difficult; or giving someone the permission or power to try something different
  • Jackie Kennedy: Former First Lady of the US; husband to former US President John F Kennedy
  • First Lady: wife of the President of the US
  • nurture: care for and protect while something is growing or developing
  • counterparts: person with a similar role in another place or organisation
  • chancellor: honorary head of a university
  • championing: supporting or defending
  • dignity: state or quality of being worthy of respect
  • aspire: direct your hopes or ambitions towards a goal


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  1. What is the former politician’s name?
  2. What is the main point of this story?
  3. Why are the doll’s shoes red?
  4. Who was Jackie Kennedy?
  5. Who is the chancellor of Australian National University?


1. Who Would You Choose?
Choose a woman you know who you think deserves to have a role model Barbie doll made in her honour. You can choose a well-known person, or someone you know. Write a letter to Mattel explaining all of the reasons why this woman deserves the honour and why she is such a great role model. Then add a description of the clothes and other items or accessories that your doll needs to have.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Communication Design, Design and Technologies, Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
‘Dolls are just toys, they don’t inspire kids!’ Do you agree with this statement? Write as many reasons that support your point of view that you can think of.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability


An adjective is a describing word. They are often found describing a noun. To start with look at the words before the nouns.

Search for all the adjectives you can find in the article

Did you find any repeat adjectives or are they all different?

Extension: Pick three of your favourite adjectives from the text and put them in your own sentences to show other ways to use them.

Have you used any in your writing?

Extra Reading in civics