In partnership with Mattel and the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is launching the “No Limits” initiative to help erase the “That’s for boys, not for girls” stigma. The program kicks off today to correspond with the celebration of National STEM/STEAM Day, and as a part of it, MBUSA and Mattel will give away 50,000 Matchbox die-cast toy replicas of a Mercedes-Benz 220SE to participating children. The toy replica will also be available for purchase in stores nationwide beginning in December.

What makes Mercedes-Benz 220SE special is the fact that in this car, Ewy Rosqvist-von Korff, one of the most successful rally drivers, became the first woman to compete in and win the Argentine Grand Prix in 1962. 

Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for MBUSA said in a press release shared with AList: “Whatever they aspire to be–an astronaut, engineer, judge, nurse, even the President, we want all children to dream big, dream bold and never give up on that dream. We’ve seen that stories like Ewy’s–championing women trailblazers and achievers–can have a big impact by calling into question the gender stereotypes that children may inadvertently adopt.”

According to the National Science Board, women represent as low as 29 percent of the current science and engineering workforce and a lack of encouragement and role models is named by women as the main reason for not pursuing majors and careers in STEM. Aiming to change this, MBUSA, NGCP and Mattel will provide 50,000 young girls in the US with an opportunity to engineer toy racetracks, design cars, engage with female role models and attend STEM workshops and therefore, challenge gender stereotypes (which research shows can impact decisions later in life).  

“Our goal is to inspire children to imagine all that they can become and break down gender stereotypes in the toy aisle with purpose-driven programs like this. Most people don’t know that the creator of Matchbox made the first vehicle for his daughter who was only allowed to bring toys to school that fit inside a matchbox. So, from its origin, it has been an inclusive way for kids to explore the world around them,” said Amanda Moldavon, senior director, Vehicles Brand Creative at Mattel.