Girl power?

Google shows support for professional women with new female emojis

Gabriela Motroc

Google has asked the Unicode Consortium, a not-for-profit group that runs an “emoji subcommittee” supervising the creation of new emojis, to consider adding 13 new emojis to represent women in professional roles.

According to the proposal created by a team of Google employees, the proposed emojis would include women in business, education and health care roles, on farms, in a restaurant kitchen and at factories, among other things. “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?” the proposal read.

Google told JAXenter:

We submitted this proposal to encourage the creation and standardization of new professional emojis, specifically focusing on increasing the representation of women. 

“Young women are the heaviest users of emoji”

Google’s proposal pointed at a 2015 SocialTimes report by AdWeek, which showed that 92 percent of online consumers use emoji —of that user base, 78 percent of women are frequent emoji users, versus 60 percent of men. The same report revealed that 72 percent of those under 25 are frequent emoji users, and 77 percent of users aged 25-29 are frequent users. “The nexus of female users and young users reveals that women under 30 are most the frequent emoji users by far.”

Google did its homework and proved that Always’ (one of Procter & Gamble’s biggest brands) emoji-centric facet of its “Like a Girl” campaign was a huge success. The Always #LikeAGirl – Girl Emojis video was seen by more than 18 million people and the internet exploded with calls for more representative female emojis.

Even Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, jumped on the female emoji bandwagon and posted a tweet requesting the creation of a “girl studying emoji” to help empower girls globally.

Why Google focused on this set of professions

According to the proposal, the team collected information from three main sources: global sectors of the workforce, jobs and growth and media and culture. As a result, Google selected farming, a representation of industry and manufacturing, healthcare, technology, business representation (lawyer, financial worker, etc), education, food service, and of course, an aspirational rockstar. The tech giant proposes the addition of 13 new female emoji and their male counterparts.

We believe this number allows us to represent a wide variety of professions without introducing too much complexity to the implementation.

The Google employees recommended “standardizing these characters as quickly as possible” given the urgency to boost women’s representation in emoji.

SEE ALSO: Emojicode – A merrier kind of programming language

Change won’t happen overnight

Even though Unicode accepts Google’s recommendation today, these emojis will not appear in people’s phones tomorrow. Mark Davis, a founder and the president of the Unicode Consortium, told The New York Times last year that “[emojis] don’t magically appear once we [board of the Unicode Consortium] approve them.” In deciding which emojis to add, the group takes into consideration factors such as frequency of use, compatibility and “completeness” (to complement a symbol which was already in use).

After the board accepts the set of emojis, it will be manufacturers’ turn to put them on their phones.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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