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Emoji Gender Equality Is A Thing That Is Now Happening

The Unicode Consortium just approved 11 new professional emojis, which means more than 100 different new combinations and way more options for women.

Posted on July 14, 2016, at 1:14 p.m. ET

Google

The emoji council of elders just passed gender equality.

Thanks to four Google engineers (Rachel Been, Agustin Fonts, Nicole Bleuel, and Mark Davis, who is also the co-founder and president of the Unicode Consortium), emojis are about to become far more inclusive. Today, the Unicode Consortium — the standards organization that regulates and approves all new emojis — has accepted a Google-led proposal to "highlight the diversity of women’s careers.”

The proposal, whose creation BuzzFeed News first reported back in May, includes 11 new professional emojis for women (with options for men, too) in a variety of different skin tones. Its implementation means about 100 new emoji combinations.

Google

Since its adoption by the Unicode Consortium in 2009, the emoji standard has continued to evolve, adding new characters and features. As emojis have exploded in popularity, the character set has seen its share of critics who argue emojis should better represent the people who use them. In recent years the Consortium has taken steps to resolve a perceived lack of diversity in the emoji character set. It's added both a more diverse spectrum of skin tones and same sex relationship emojis.

But while considerable progress has been made, the Consortium's work isn't yet done — which is where the Google proposal comes in. In a blog post today, the company noted that, prior to this morning's announcement, there were a number of emojis available to represent men in the workplace, yet for women the options were laughably gendered: woman in wedding dress, woman getting haircut, princess.

It's not yet clear what the time table will be for the release of these new professional emojis. But it's another step forward for an increasingly important character set and further proof that emojis’ evolution is far from over.


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