Lottie dolls article in the Daily Mail.
After conducting market research, Arklu found more than half of parents polled believed that toys influence children in their future lives with respect to their education, careers and lifestyle choices.
As a result, 92 per cent felt toys can contribute towards breaking the gender divide and 93 per cent felt it was important that toys help to empower girls in a fun and educational manner.
In response to these findings, Arklu developed six different Lottie dolls, costing $19.95 or £16.99 each, which aim to show girls they can be clever and adventurous and 'do anything men can do'.
Real-life inspiration: The dolls have been inspired by, from left, international karate star Sensei Debi Steven (Kawaii Karate Lottie), 16th century Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley (Pirate Queen Lottie) and female inventors Erin Kennedy and Kathy Ceceri (Robot Girl Lottie and the Busy Lizzie Robot)
Some of the range has been inspired by real life heroines, such as Pirate Queen Lottie, who is based on Grace O'Malley.
She was dubbed the Pirate Queen during her lifetime in 16th century Ireland. She rejected the traditional role women were supposed to fall into for a life as a warrior on the high seas and once met with Queen Elizabeth I.
An accessories set can be bought for Pirate Queen Lottie that comes with silver coins, a treasure map and collector cards highlighting key events in O'Malley's life, giving girls a chance to learn about history as they play.
Meanwhile, Robot Girl Lottie and the Busy Lizzie Robot encourages girls to be scientific and inventive. She was inspired by the story of Allie Weber, an eight-year-old from the U.S. who tried to create a robot from recycled household items for her school science fair, as well as high-flying female scientist and inventors such as Erin Kennedy and Kathy Ceceri.
There's also Kawaii Karate Lottie who is a fan of martial arts and encourages girls to be active and bold. She was inspired by Sensei Debi Steven, founder of PeeWee Karate in London.
Originally from South Africa, Sensei Debi represented the Springbok 'all styles' karate team internationally and founded a ground-breaking initiative to deliver free self-defence classes to underprivileged women and girls in India.
Positive play: Other dolls in the range encourage girls to be sporty, brave and kind to nature
Collector cards for the doll demonstrate karate stances for beginners that children can try.
Butterfly Protector Lottie celebrates science and conservation while Pony Flag Race Lottie is competitive and loves the challenge of racing on her beloved horse.
The dolls were first launched in August 2012 with the motto 'Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You' and have received praise from parents and campaigners.
Britain's Got Talent judge, Amanda Holden, who has two daughters, admits she is a Lottie fan. She said: 'My daughter (and I!) love her – we're huge fans of her. It’s a brilliant idea to create a positive doll.'
MP Jo Swinson, co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence, has also praised the product.
'I welcome this venture which will enable parents to provide their kids with dolls created with positive body image in mind, and the message that it’s not all about looks,' she said.
Lottie sells in 14 countries and appears in 17 language versions, including Chinese, Russian and Japanese. The dolls and associated products are available to buy from www.lottie.com.
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