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New 'gender equality' emoji to show women at work

2016-July-18       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

Emoji users will soon be able to select female versions of police officers, doctors and athletes after critics said the popular text-message cartoons discriminated against women by showing mainly men in professional roles.


The Unicode consortium, the body that decides global standards for emoji, said 33 existing characters would be altered to allow smartphone users to pick between male and female options.


In addition, a new set of 11 emoji showing people at work, including chefs, farmers and computer programmers, will display male and female versions, as well as several different skin tones.


Previously, phones had represented emoji such as "weightlifter" and "spy" as male characters, while "cutting hair" and "tipping" had been represented by females. Future updates to the iPhone and Android software will allow texters to choose between genders.


Google, which had led a campaign to encourage more emoji showing women at work, said: "More than 90 percent of the world's online population use emoji. But while there's a huge range of emoji, there aren't a lot that highlight the diversity of women's careers, or empower young girls.


"We hope these updates help make emoji just a little more representative of the millions of people around the world who use them."


Other new emoji showing men and women in professional roles include factory workers, mechanics, office workers, scientists, singers and teachers.


The rise of text messaging apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage have made emoji – of which there are now more than 1,500 – a key form of communication. However, they have been criticised for a lack of diversity.


Last year, a range of ethnically-diverse emoji were introduced that allowed users to change from the default yellow to one of six skin tones, and a series showing same-sex couples and families were also added.


On Friday, the charity Scope urged Unicode to add new emoji featuring disabled people and Paralympic athletes.


张雪妮&丹妮 from language.chinadaily.com.cn

Editor: Steven

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