Earlier this year, Google revealed plans to approach emoji creators Unicode with designs for a slew of new emoji that would bring far more gender balance to the current offering.
Tackling the fact that in emoji language, women are largely relegated to the roles of dancer (don’t get us started on the duo wearing leotards and bunny ears), princess, bride or the pink-jumper wearers who get their hair cut and enjoy head massages, the team at Google wanted to do more to empower girls and women through better representation.
Now, in joyous news that’ll excite everyone who really has exhausted the very many interpretations of the sassy girl emoji (Unicode’s ‘information desk person’ definition has officially been disregarded by the whole world), Google’s new non-sexist designs have been approved and over 100 new icons to promote better equality are on their way.
From a rock star to a welder, doctor, coder and graduate, the overhaul sees 11 diverse professions for both women and men added to the keyboard, which will also be available in all the different skin tones too for real-world levels of inclusion and representation.
The flood of new emoji doesn’t end there, however. The runner, the weightlifter, the swimmer and the cyclist will also become available as both male and female emoji, as part of efforts to gender-balance 33 of the most popular existing icons.
The detective will now come as both male and female, as will the haircut emoji (shocker: it’s not just women who go for a trim), the the sassy hand emoji, the slightly-ninja-arms-crossed emoji and more.
“No matter where you look, women are gaining visibility and recognition as never before,” reads Google’s proposal to Unicode. “Isn’t it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?
“Given the fact that women are the most frequent emoji users, and that they span a wide professional spectrum not yet reflected in current emoji, we want to help address this pressing matter of equality.”
Back in March, a survey carried out by Always found that 70% of girls felt emoji failed to represent them fairly. A further 60% were all in agreement that the current line-up of emoji icons implies that girls are more limited than boys in what they can do.
“Society has a tendency to send subtle messages that can limit girls to stereotypes,” noted filmmaker Lucy Walker, who created a mini-documentary to accompany the findings.
It might seem a small change to some, but given the wider issue of insidious sexism, it's hoped the new emoji offering will empower female users and help break down the sexist stereotypes in the world of sport, education and work, particularly when it comes to careers in science, tech, engineering or mathematics.
“These new emoji are one of several efforts we’re making to better represent women in technology, and to connect girls with the education and resources they need to pursue careers in STEM,” writes Google. “We hope these updates help make emoji just a little more representative of the millions of people around the [world] who use them.”
According to the Google blog, the new emoji updates will be included in future versions of Andriod and other platforms.
Images: Courtesy of Google