Saturday 1 October 2016

Google wants to introduce a new set of emoji to better represent women

Sasha Brady

Published 11/05/2016 | 13:14

Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google

A team of four Google employees have designed 13 new emoji designed to better represent women in the professional world.

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In a presentation to the Unicode Consortium, a Silicon Valley not-for-profit group that approves and standardises emoji, the team said the new emoji portray "a wide range of professions for women and men, with a goal of highlighting the diversity of women's careers and empowering girls everywhere."

Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google

The professional fields include business, healthcare, science, technology, education, farming, food service and music, with the latter paying homage to David Bowie.

The Google team cites a recent New York Times op-ed, called Emoji Feminism, as the motivation behind its gender-equality designs.

Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google

"Where, I wanted to know, was the fierce professor working her way to tenure? Where was the lawyer? The accountant? The surgeon? How was there space for both a bento box and a single fried coconut shrimp, and yet women were restricted to a smattering of tired, beauty-centric roles? This was not a problem for our male emoji brethren. Men were serving on the police force, working construction and being Santa. Meanwhile, on our phones, it was Saturday at the Mall of America - women shopping while men wrote the checks."

As emoji have increased in popularity over recent years, there have been ongoing debates about diversity in the available images when it comes to racially diverse faces and same-sex emoji couples.

Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google
Google's proposed new emoji designs to better represent professional women. Photo: Google

The four Google employees have highlighted various studies that show women are the main users of emoji, so they believe they deserve emoji that go beyond cliches.

The thirteen chosen emoji are also based on research into the most common occupations and take into account recent campaigns encouraging women and girls into professions in which they are under-represented.

The team said it hopes their proposed emoji will have a positive effect on modern communication.

"We believe we can have a larger positive impact by adding 13 new emoji that depict women across a representative sample of professions," the Google team wrote in their proposal.

"We believe this will empower young women (the heaviest emoji users), and better reflect the pivotal roles women play in the world."

The Google employees hope to have the emoji standardised before the end of 2016

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