To mark the new second series of Bob the Builder on channel 5’s Milkshake!, Downton Abbey actress Joanne Froggatt has spoken out about the importance of her character Wendy.
Froggatt voices Wendy in the series, who teaches young girls and boys about the importance of gender equality.
The series is making its debut today, which also coincided with National Women in Engineering Day on June 23rd.
“I’m really proud to be Wendy’s voice and to be a strong female presence in the show. I love the fact that in this new series of Bob the Builder Wendy is now Bob’s business partner rather than just an employee.
“I like the fact they’re on an even keel – even though obviously it’s Bob’s show, of course, we’d never take that away from him. It’s really nice that they have so much respect for one another.
“Wendy’s intelligent, ambitious, very good at what she does, in control and very sensible, but fun as well. In this new series she carries on being efficient and keeping everyone in check. I think she’s a great female role model. She’s just very capable and a hard worker. She’s fun to play as well.”
Creators of Bob the Builder acted on feedback from viewers who told them to give Wendy a more defined role, and now the show has responded by giving Wendy a more prominent role as Bob’s business partner.
Kate Schlomann, VP of marketing for Fisher Price, added: "Bob the Builder is a show all about construction and team work with fun and dynamic characters. It’s traditionally a boys' show but when we re-launched the series, we felt it was important to give Wendy a clear, defined and prominent role.
“The modern incarnation of Wendy is an equal to Bob. All this cultivates an impression that competent engineers aren’t defined by their gender. Young children are rarely exposed to ‘real engineers’ so Wendy's presence as a female electrician and Bob’s business partner demonstrates to children that not only men are involved in engineering; perhaps consequently influencing girls to exhibit the creativity that is desired in an engineer.
“By fighting any impressions children might have that women can’t do an engineer’s job, this could encourage more talented women into the industry."