Serial Career Changer Barbie Now Running for President

By Jenna Goudreau

Watch out, Mitt. Barbie has stepped onto the campaign trail and will officially announce her bid for President on Thursday.

The I Can Be…President Barbie doll by manufacturer Mattel and in partnership with The White House Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit that aims to involve more women in politics, will be in mass distribution. Presale begins tomorrow, but Mattel expects it to hit shelves everywhere in August in four different races: Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and Asian.

Barbie's Careers Through The Years

Will you vote for Barbie in 2012?Will you vote for Barbie in 2012?

As the only female candidate in the election, Presidential Barbie will literally stand on her own. For the first time in the doll's 53-year history, weighted wedge heels allow her to stand upright on any flat surface. The undisputed leader of the "B Party" wears pearls and a pink power suit with patriotic red, white and blue accents designed by Chris Benz, who has outfitted First Lady Michelle Obama.

"Being President culminates Barbie's career path," says Mattel's Cathy Cline, VP of Barbie Brand Marketing in North America. "She stands for inspiring girls to be informed and involved in their local communities. We hope that one day we'll have a female president standing in the Oval Office."

Barbie has had more than 130 careers, breaking the plastic ceiling as an astronaut in 1965 and going on to jobs like surgeon, business executive and computer engineer. This will be her fifth presidential bid, having previously run in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

20 Most Powerful Women In Politics

According to Mattel, 90% of girls ages 3 to 10 own at least one Barbie, and the average girl owns 12 dolls, making her the top-selling doll in the U.S. Worldwide sales of Barbie increased 12% in the fourth quarter, the biggest growth the brand has seen in over a decade.

"Barbie is the most powerful brand for girls, and to create any social change you need to find them where they are," says Tiffany Dufu, president of The White House Project. "During play we begin to make connections with what we aspire to. Barbie motivates girls to aspire to be anything-including President."

The U.S. ranks 90th in the world in terms of women's representation in legislature, with just 16.8% in Congress, only 12% of governors and major city mayors, and no female head of state on record.

Top 20 Best Countries For Women

Dufu believes one of the major barriers to women's leadership progress is rooted in popular culture. Women are now 50% of the workforce and a majority of college graduates, but "despite all our advancement, we still have a cultural norm that women's primary role is wife and mother. While it's outdated, it's very pervasive," she says. The White House Project hopes that Presidential Barbie will contribute to a shift in cultural consciousness.

Another major obstacle for women's representation in politics is their lower candidacy rates. Women win races at comparable rates to men, she says, but they don't run as often. "We need to invite more women to run and prepare them to run."

Girls will be invited to help shape Presidential Barbie's platform and message via Tumblr and Instagram pages that launch on Thursday.

More on Forbes.com
Barbie's Careers Through The Years
Top 20 Best Countries For Women
20 Most Powerful Women In Politics
The 15 Best Jobs For Young People
Power Women To Watch
First Lady Fashion Around The World