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Google proposes inclusive working-women emoji

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Ever wanted to quickly text someone that you’re busy at work but only found women emojis getting their hair and nails done, or salsa dancing? A team at Google wants to change that.

A proposal by Google’s Rachel Been, Nicole Bleuel, Agustin Fonts and Mark Davis, aims to increase the representation of professional women and men in emoji, “highlighting the diversity of women’s careers.”

They’ve proposed 13 new emoji, with implementation coding, for professions spanning banker, doctor, nurse, scientist, graduate, software engineer, factory worker, high tech industry worker, mechanic, farmer, chef, teacher, rockstar, and related fields.

Stating women to be the majority users of emoji, the team seeks to standardise the proposed emoji by end of 2016.

The team cited a New York Times op-ed piece by Amy Butcher published in March 2016:

“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.”

In addition, the team cited a number of trends pointing to the need for more inclusive emojis:

  1. Always, a P&G brand, released an emojicentric facet of its ‘Like a Girl’ campaign, and the resulting video received over 18 million views. Michelle Obama responded to the video via a Tweet requesting the creation of a “girl studying emoji”.
  2. Google search trends found profession-related emoji, such as doctor or student, are searched more frequently than the runner emoji.
  3. A report by AdWeek found 78% of women are frequent emoji users, versus 60% of men. Further, 72% of those under 25 are frequent emoji users, and 77% of users aged 25 – 29 are frequent users.

The team also provided three paths to potential implementation of these emoji, through ZWJ sequences for Unicode, tag sequences, and encoding of new characters. However, Unicode hasn’t responded to the proposal yet.

Image: Google via LinkedIn 

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