Gendered Emojis Coming In 2016
In June 2016, 72 new emojis were released as part of Unicode 9.0. Recent history would have suggested that the next new emojis would be coming in June 2017 as part of Unicode 10.0.
Not this year. 88 new emojis are coming, and these form a second "emoji only" release for Unicode in 2016.
Above: New professional emojis focussing on women, but also available for men. Image: Google.
Most major vendors are expected to implement support for the 72 new Unicode 9 emojis throughout the remainder of 2016.
Above: 72 new emojis released June 2016, already coming to major platforms.
Generally, any new emoji discussion that arises between Unicode releases is channeled into technical reports and proposals, preparing for the next release. In this case; Unicode 10.0 in 2017.
This year is different, and the details are worth following.
A new document titled Gender Emoji ZWJ Sequences was published last week which takes the previous Expanding Emoji Professions proposal from Google and adds gender options for other (non-professional-related) emojis as well.
This is the result of a directive at the Unicode Technical Committee Meeting in May for vendors to work together via the Emoji Subcommittee to reach a list of agreed characters to support.
Rather than have two or more documents attempting to address the Emoji Gender Gap, this work combines all gender-related work into a single list.
While the genesis of the work on this document was in ensuring women are better represented in emoji, all additions apply equally to men.
Above: Female and male versions of existing emojis are included. Image: Google.
No new emoji is suggested to have only a female, or only a male variation. The following broad categories are included:
- Professions: Teacher, Scientist, Cook, Health Care Worker
- These are roles don't currently exist currently, and will have female and male variations
- Activities: Walking, Running, Swimming
- These emojis exist currently, and are frequently shown as male
- Gestures: No Good, Facepalm, Shrug
- These emojis exist currently, and are frequently shown as female
- Misc: Guard, Turban, Blond Hair
- Other emojis that exist, and are frequently male
The implementation for these characters is proposed as Emoji ZWJ Sequences.
The document states:
Because these emoji use sequences of existing Unicode characters...vendors can begin design and implementation work now and can deploy before the end of 2016, rather than waiting for Unicode v10.0 to come out in June of 2017
In short, Emoji ZWJ Sequences = faster time-to-market. More about how Emoji ZWJ Sequences work:
- Inside the Female teacher is: 👩 + 🏫
- Inside the Male "no good" symbol is: 🙅♂
Here is the full list of 88 new Emoji ZWJ Sequences being suggested.
This has been sourced from this spreadsheet which is linked from the main Gender Emoji ZWJ Sequences document.
Mockup: Female version of 👮 Police Officer and Male version of 👯 Woman With Bunny Ears.
This list is not final, and additions may be made prior to vendors adding support.
- 👱♀️ Blonde woman
- 👱♂️ Blond man
- 👷♀️ Female construction worker
- 👷♂️ Male construction worker
- 👩🍳 Female cook
- 👨🍳 Male cook
- 👩🏭 Female factory worker
- 👨🏭 Male factory worker
- 👩🌾 Female farmer
- 👨🌾 Male farmer
- 💂♀️ Female guard
- 💂♂️ Male guard
- 👩⚕️ Female health worker
- 👨⚕️ Male health worker
- 👩🔧 Female mechanic
- 👨🔧 Male mechanic
- 👩💼 Female office worker
- 👨💼 Male office worker
- 👮♀️ Female police officer
- 👮♂️ Male police officer
- 👩🔬 Female scientist
- 👨🔬 Male scientist
- 👩🎤 Female singer
- 👨🎤 Male singer
- 🕵️♀️ Female sleuth
- 🕵️♂️ Male sleuth
- 👩🎓 Female student
- 👨🎓 Male student
- 👩🏫 Female teacher
- 👨🏫 Male teacher
- 👩💻 Female technologist
- 👨💻 Male technologist
- 🚴♀️ Woman biking
- 🚴♂️ Man biking
- 🙇♀️ Woman bowing deeply
- 🙇♂️ Man bowing deeply
- 🤸♀️ Woman doing cartwheel
- 🤸♂️ Man doing cartwheel
- 🤦♀️ Woman facepalming
- 🤦♂️ Man facepalming
- 🙍♀️ Woman frowning
- 🙍♂️ Man frowning
- 🙅♀️ Woman gesturing not ok
- 🙅♂️ Man gesturing not ok
- 🙆♀️ Woman gesturing ok
- 🙆♂️ Man gesturing ok
- 💆♀️ Woman getting face massage
- 💆♂️ Man getting face massage
- 💇♀️ Woman getting haircut
- 💇♂️ Man getting haircut
- 🏌️♀️ Woman golfing
- 🏌️♂️ Man golfing
- 🤹♀️ Woman juggling
- 🤹♂️ Man juggling
- 🚵♀️ Woman mountain biking
- 🚵♂️ Man mountain biking
- 🤾♀️ Woman playing handball
- 🤾♂️ Man playing handball
- 🤽♀️ Woman playing water polo
- 🤽♂️ Man playing water polo
- 🙎♀️ Woman pouting
- 🙎♂️ Man pouting
- 🙋♀️ Woman raising hand
- 🙋♂️ Man raising hand
- 🚣♀️ Woman rowing boat
- 🚣♂️ Man rowing boat
- 🏃♀️ Woman running
- 🏃♂️ Man running
- 🤷♀️ Woman shrugging
- 🤷♂️ Man shrugging
- 🏄♀️ Woman surfing
- 🏄♂️ Man surfing
- 🏊♀️ Woman swimming
- 🏊♂️ Man swimming
- 💁♀️ Woman tipping hand
- 💁♂️ Man tipping hand
- 🚶♀️ Woman walking
- 🚶♂️ Man walking
- 🏋️♀️ Woman weight lifting
- 🏋️♂️ Man weight lifting
- ⛹️♀️ Woman with ball
- ⛹️♂️ Man with ball
- 👳♀️ Woman with turban
- 👳♂️ Man with turban
- 👯♀️ Women partying
- 👯♂️ Men partying
- 🤼♀️ Women wrestling
- 🤼♂️ Men wrestling
- The above list might look like a mess on current systems. The following characters may not yet display correctly:
- The actual Emoji ZWJ Sequences aren't supported yet, meaning you are seeing the individual emojis inside the sequence.
- Unicode 9 emojis which aren't yet widely supported, and show as empty boxes or question marks on many systems
- ♀ female sign and ♂ male sign are listed as emojis and not just regular Unicode characters, which isn't yet supported.
- If implemented by major vendors, the above list will display the relevant emoji next to each entry correctly in future.
- Many of these appear to overlap with existing characters. The difference is subtle, but noteworthy. For example:
- "Male police officer" in the above sequence is explicitly male.
- This paves the way for the current 👮 Police Officer emoji to become gender neutral, if vendors wish to do this.
- The same applies to "Woman raising hand"
- This may look the same as 🙋 Happy Person Raising One Hand initially, but:
- If vendors wish to, they can then make 🙋 Happy Person Raising One Hand gender-neutral.
- All human-looking characters in the above list would also support modifiers for skin tone.
- When modifiers are included, the above list of 88 new emojis becomes 514 new sequences.
As with other Emoji ZWJ Sequences, there is no need for any formal approval from Unicode for vendors to introduce these characters.
With that said, it makes sense for vendors to consult with one another before releasing new sequences, so that (for example) Google doesn't introduce 👩+🏫 to mean "female teacher" while Apple uses 👩+🎒.
The stated goal of this document is to have vendors add support "before the end of 2016".
Prepared by Mark Davis, Rachel Been, and the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. ↩︎
👱 Person with Blond Hair is a weird emoji, but while it exists, it will get support for genders. ↩︎