On the International Day of Girl Child, Barbie celebrated Manasi Joshi, Indian para-badminton star with a one-of-a-kind (OOAK) doll modelled to her likeness as a part of the Barbie SHEROES family. The para-badminton player was also named as one of the ‘Next Generation Leaders’ by Time Magazine earlier this week. Her rise to the top of the sporting world is inspirational.
Truly honoured to be recognised by Time Magazine as the Next Generation Leader.
The younger me would have never believed it that some day I will be on the cover of TIME and be called the next generation leader. This is so huge
On @TIME by @AbhishyantPK photo by Kannagi Khanna pic.twitter.com/ceWa8to232
— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) October 9, 2020
The Barbie OOAK doll celebrates all extraordinary women who inspire girls around the world to be anything they dream of. Manasi Joshi joins this celebrated and diverse group of SHEROES which also include Naomi Osaka, Frida Khalo, Nicola Adams Obe, Madison De Rozario and Sumeyye Boyaci. Manasi Joshi tweeted,”Thank you @Barbie, it’s incredible to have an OOAK Barbie Doll modeled after me. I believe education around inclusion & diversity should start early & I hope that my story encourages young girls to harness their true potential & become whoever they set out to be #YouCanBeAnything.”
Thank you @Barbie, it's incredible to have an OOAK Barbie Doll modeled after me.
I believe education around inclusion & diversity should start early & I hope that my story encourages young girls to harness their true potential & become whoever they set out to be#YouCanBeAnything pic.twitter.com/r7UTLzLiTY
— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) October 11, 2020
Apart from being a successful para-athlete, Manasi Joshi is also a software engineer. Joshi played badminton as a part of her rehabilitation after a motorbike accident in 2011 and following fellow para-badminton player Neeraj George’s suggestion she took up the sport professionally again.
In 2019, Manasi Joshi won the BWF Para-Badminton World Championship and currently holds the World No. 2 spot in the Women’s Singles. ‘Sports helped me break stereotypes, I now want to use that experience to be an enabler for others,’ she had told the TIME magazine.
On having a doll modelled after her, she feels that this kind of representation can have a positive impact on young children, especially young girls. She also mentioned that this is an immense honour for her to have a doll modelled. Joshi believes this doll will break several stereotypes and encourage people with disability and girls from all races and religion that even they can be who they want to.
While this badminton champion believes India has “huge potential” to excel as a sporting nation on account of its younger demography, she notes that policies made by political leadership need to be implemented to ensure accessible infrastructure for people with disabilities. During an interview, she said, “There are areas that require improvement, and we could do with a different approach to how we look at disability in this country from education to several job opportunities.”
Khushi Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV