A vital new campaign is calling for tech giants to introduce a wider variety of emoji to represent women who wear hijabs.
At present, cats have no fewer than nine emoji showing different facial expressions and moods, but hijabi have just one.
They have launched a change.org petition calling for Unicode Consortium – which maintains the global standard for emoji – to include their set of hijabi emoji in their next update.
The campaign's hashtag – #SeeBeyondTheHijab – underlines the fact that better visibility and representation can lead to better understanding. "A single step in the right direction can get the world to #SeeBeyondTheHijab, and foster inclusivity and tolerance towards the global Muslim community," the creators point out.
Given that 92% of people globally use emoji to communicate, it's no exaggeration to call this update a really important step forward.
The sole current hijabi emoji was introduced by the Unicode Consortium in 2017 following a campaign by Rayouf Alhumedhi. "I wanted something to represent me, alongside the millions of women who wear the headscarf every day, and pride themselves on wearing the headscarf," Alhumedhi said at the time.
"Rayouf Alhumedhi walked, so we could run," EmojiMe write in their petition. "And we know that hijabis are more than the scarf that they wear. As individuals spread across the globe, raised in different cultures, with limitless emotions and personalities, one emoji is not enough for hijabis to communicate authentically and express effortlessly.
"Our goal is to change this story," they continue. "It’s time to rejoice in hijabi individuality by adding more genuine inclusivity to this visual vocabulary."