London: The consortium that approves emojis has signed off new ones, including a woman wearing a hijab, woman breastfeeding a baby and a person doing yoga. The new emojis are likely to arrive on smartphones next year after Unicode, the international consortium that sets their global standards, proposed the 51 icons. It will take the total number of the cartoon images, which are increasingly being used to replace words in text messages, to 1,724, The Telegraph reported.
Rayouf Alhumedhi, a 15-year-old from Germany, had campaigned for the inclusion of the character wearing a hijab emoji, proposing it to Unicode after realising there was no emoji to represent her. Among the list of introductions are ‘person with headscarf’, ‘breastfeeding’, ‘bearded person’, ‘older adult’, reflecting the current lack of grandparent icons. Other emojis that will be released in 2017 by Unicode are a head exploding, a face with open mouth vomiting and a man and woman practising yoga, The Guardian reported.
The new list, Unicode 10, adds to efforts to make emojis more diverse. Smartphone makers have included a variety of skin tones, hair colours and cultural and religious references in recent years following claims that they reinforce stereotypes. Google recently called for more emojis that reflect women in the workplace, while Apple added male and female versions of some emojis after complaints that many of the female- focused cartoons featured activities such as cutting hair.
Alhumedhi, whose own proposal was accepted by Unicode, tweeted that she was “so excited” by the news. The other new emojis proposed include a zombie, a vampire, a person holding their finger to their mouth, and a T-Rex. Unicode, which represents the major technology companies, proposed a shortlist of the new emojis. They are typically approved in the following summer and are likely to be added to smartphones in roughly a year’s time. In the coming weeks, Apple is set to add the emojis from the previous set, Unicode 9. They include emojis for facepalm, selfie, a clown and a pregnant woman.