Google developers have unveiled a proposal for 13 new emoji that show women in a powerful new light. Far from just depicting a happy face, a devilish wink, or an emotional tear, these new emoji feature professional women leading the way in a range of careers.
"No matter where you look, women are gaining visibility and recognition as never before," the developers said in a statement. "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?"
Developers Rachel Been, Agustin Fonts, Mark Davis, and Nicole Bleuel announced the proposal at the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit that sets international standards for text and characters so that they appear consistently across devices and computers.
A 2015 SocialTimes report by AdWeek found that 92 percent of online consumers use emoji. The study found that 78 percent of women in that group are frequent emoji users, compared to 60 percent of men.
To better reflect the wide variety of careers and life experiences of many of these female users, the developers proposed emoji representing women in a range of fields including education, technology, industry, farming, food service, and music.
The developers stated that the emoji are part of a wider effort to emphasize women's empowerment around the world. In light of the United Nations' sustainable development agenda, which calls for greater gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as the recent news that U.S. will put famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, Google sees the emoji as a gesture the tech world can make to portray women in a more accurate and positive light.
The next phase in a more representative field of emoji could be gender-neutral symbols, the developers suggested.
"We recognize the importance of having an inclusive representation of all people in emoji, whether they identify with a specific gender or not," the developers said in the statement. "We believe an egalitarian, sensitive, and compelling representation of gender in emoji is extremely important."