Youth-Led Research: Barbie + Girls Leadership

Research Study: What does it mean to be a girl today?

Girls Leadership, in partnership with Barbie, is conducting a research study with girls in Kindergarten to 5th grade. This project is a youth-led research study organized by the members of Girls Leadership’s Girl Advisory Board (GAB). GAB members are interested in learning about how girls in elementary school see themselves, their hopes for the future, and the challenges they encounter. They are curious to know how girls’ perspectives are shaped by their experiences as Black, Latinx, AAPI, Indigenous, and White girls. This research study centers and uplifts girls’ voices! Listening to and learning from girls is critical as Girls Leadership and Barbie work toward their shared mission of raising up the voice, leadership, and power of every girl.


Calling all Girls!

Our goal is to listen to 200 girls, ages 5 to 11 years old, representing every region of the United States. Girls* are invited to participate in focus groups with their peers from across the country! Girls Leadership understands and values the diverse lived experiences, expressions of identity, personality, and communication styles of girls. We encourage all girls to participate, who are willing to take one hour to share their experiences and opinions with our GAB girls about what it means to be a girl today. Each girl that participates in the focus group will receive a Barbie doll as a thank you for their time.

*Girls includes anyone who identifies as a girl, as well as non-binary and gender expansive youth


Focus Groups

Focus groups will be held online via Zoom. Each 60-minute focus group session will have a small cohort of 6 – 8 girls, and will be led by two Girls Leadership GAB members, and a Girls Leadership educator. Girls will be grouped by grade level as follows: Kindergarten/1st grade; 2nd grade/3rd grade; and 4th grade/5th grade. Families, whose girls are invited to participate, will receive a Zoom link in advance of the session date.

During the focus group, the Girls Leadership GAB members will first create a brave space with the group in order to establish trust and to engage girls’ curiosity and courage. The group will then play an ice breaker game! Girls will then be invited to take turns answering questions about their favorite ways to play, their role models, and dreams for the future. Sample questions include: What do you like most about being you? What do you want to be when you grow up? Who is a leader that you admire? Are you a leader? GAB members will make sure every girl understands each question and has an opportunity to share her answer.

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Kindergarten/1st Grade


Kindergarten/1st Grade/2nd Grade


3rd Grade/4th Grade/5th Grade


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Video Recordings & Study Findings

Focus group sessions will be video recorded for the purpose of documenting the conversation. The Girls Leadership research team will utilize the video recordings to compile, analyze and share the findings of the research with Barbie. Girls and caregivers who agree to participate in the study must provide their consent (indicated on the registration form) for Girls Leadership to record the session and share an edited video compilation of all the focus groups with Barbie. At the conclusion of the study, Girls Leadership will share the findings of the study in a written report that will be shared with all families who participate in the study. In the final report, no girl will be identified by name. The findings of this qualitative study and an accompanying video will be shared publicly in October of 2021 as part of International Day of the Girl. Signing the media release gives Girls Leadership and Barbie permission to share edited video recordings with the general public.


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