We may soon be getting a hijab emoji thanks to the efforts of a 15-year-old high school student.
Rayouf Alhumedhi was trying to send an emoji to friends when she noticed there wasn't one that looked like her. She had one week left of her school holidays and set about using it to make sure Muslim women of all skin tones won't have the same experience.
“I did it because I wanted to be represented, it’s as simple as that,” she tells CNN, “I wanted an emoji of me”.
With the help of a graphic designer, Rayouf put together a version that she hopes will be used not only by Muslim women who wear hijabs, but those of other faiths including Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism, who also choose to cover their heads.
“I wanted it to be available in different skin tones because millions of women from different races do wear it,” she explains.
Rayouf lives in Germany after migrating there from her native Saudi Arabia as a child, and while acknowledging her emoji “is not going to change the world”, she hopes it will indirectly promote tolerance.
“Once people realise that people wearing headscarves are not just people on the news and once they begin to show up on out phones, that will establish that notion that we are normal people carrying out normal routines just like you.”
Earlier this month Rayouf submitted her proposal to the Unicode Consortium who review and develop new emojis.
Her submission included a male and female design and the argument that, “In the age of digitalisation, pictures prove to be a crucial element in communication".
“Emojis are more impactful and utilised than ever before. Millions use them to convey feelings, appearances and stories.”
The headscarf emoji is only a proposal at the moment but should it be approved, it is expected to be made as available as other emojis, and accessible from Australia.