Google wants to improve gender equality with new emoji


Can you change the world with an emoji? Probably not. That hasn’t stopped some people proposing new emoji to fix problems in society. There’s the Durex campaign for condom emoji and we’ve written about Bodyform’s period emojis. These campaigns are targeted at the Unicode Consortium, the governing body that decides which emoji will become official with their own Unicode characters. The latest submission is from Google employees and aims to tackle gender inequality.

“Google wants to increase the representation of women in emoji and would like to propose that Unicode implementers do the same. Our proposal is to create a new set of emoji that represents 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 uses their submission to highlight findings from their own search results and reports from other sources to make the case for improved representation of professional women in emoji characters. These include articles highlighting the importance of representation in emoji and US government statistics on jobs to suggest the best professions to include.

Image: Google

The submission proposes 13 emoji including business people, scientists, mechanics, software engineers, and even rock stars. These would be created by combining pre-existing emoji. For example, combining Unicode for woman (?) and computer (?) would create the emoji for a software engineer.

We weren’t fans of Bodyform’s desire to cover our messages with period blood but better representation of professional women is a no-brainer. Having emoji for types of jobs is useful and it makes perfect sense that there should be women and men represented for each. An emoji campaign doesn’t “fight gender inequality” in a significant way that will change anything overnight, but representation is a big deal. Small changes like this might not seem much but they all add up. This one would be so easy to implement.