BMC Toys

In July 2019, Vivian Lord won a bunch of plastic toy soldiers at an arcade while on vacation. But something stood out to her: None of the toy soldiers were women. 

With the help of her family, she searched online for female toy soldiers. Green plastic army men have been around since the 1930s, but Vivian couldn’t find anyone who made green army women. She didn’t think that was fair, especially because her friend’s mom serves in the U.S. Army. 

“I decided to write a letter to toy companies because it seemed wrong,” says the second-grader from Little Rock, Arkansas. 

One of the companies was BMC Toys in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The company’s president, Jeff Imel, was happy to receive Vivian’s letter. He had already been thinking of creating female army figures after hearing from a retired U.S. military officer who wanted them for her granddaughters. After months of planning and preparation, BMC Toys released the new figures earlier this year. Imel sent Vivian one of the first batches. 

“When my female soldiers came in the mail, I was so glad that my dream actually came true,” she says. 

The plastic figures are shown in many of the roles that women perform in the military. They include radio operators, medics, military dog handlers, and soldiers in combat. 

“It’s important for girls to know they can grow up to be anything they want to be,” Vivian says. “They should follow their own dreams, not what other people dream for them.”