Unicode approves Hijab and Breastfeeding emoji

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Our digital language defines our society, and having more tools at our disposal to express ourselves online further closes the gap between what we mean and what we say on the internet.

The use of emojis has grown immensely popular and migrated from texting to apps like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. The Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit responsible for developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data, has responded with its common practice of releasing new emojis that better represent society, our online language, and offer further inclusivity.


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And in its 149th meeting Thursday afternoon, the Unicode Consortium approved 56 new emojis for release in Unicode 10. The emojis include several representations of diversity, including a woman breastfeeding a baby, a woman wearing a hijab (which was proposed by a Saudi teenage girl last September), and a “gender-inclusive” child, adult, and older adult.


With the release of Unicode 10, set for mid-2017, there will be more than 1,100 assigned code points. Other additions to the approved emoji include a flying saucer, a T-rex, a sandwich, broccoli, and a pair of socks. The consortium takes proposals for new emojis and these additions are based on recommendations from the public over the past year.

While most might think the word “emoji” derives from “emotion,” any similarity to the English word is purely coincidental, as the word has its roots in the Japanese language. Originally meaning pictograph, the Japanese “e” means picture, and “moji” means character, together literally meaning “picture character.”

While the new emojis won’t be out for a few more months, internet users will be chomping at the bit to start using some of the new options — emojis of people practicing yoga, a face vomiting, and a head exploding will be coming to your favorite apps soon.

You can view the full list of the new emojis here.



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