Dream Gap Project

dream gap

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.


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.


Rocket Ship

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.

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.

dream gap how can you help

How can you help

  • 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.
  • Emphasise 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.


Other Resources

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.


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