Behold the first headscarf emoji

There was no emoji with a headscarf until a few days ago, when Viennese schoolgirl Rayouf Alhumedhi decided to bring more diversity into the world of tiny smiling icons.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Behold the first headscarf emoji - NewsMavens
Rayouf Alhumedi. Twitter.com

Why this story matters:

Emojis have often been the subject of debates about diversity; for example, one can now choose from different skin colors in human emoji representations. There are also same-sex couples and a growing number of female professional emojis.

Now, thanks to Rayouf Alhumedhi, a student at the International School of Vienna International, millions of women worldwide have another emoji to identify with.

Alhumedhi said that "this is a step forward to celebrate diversity and accept Islam in society." 

"I wanted to feel represented, I just wanted an emoji for me," said the creator of the headscarf emoji.

The 16-year-old grew up in Saudi Arabia and completed her first school year in Vienna in 2007. The prestigious Time Magazine included her in their annual list of the 30 most influential teens in the world.

The application was accepted by the Unicode Consortium,  and the emoji is already available on iPhones with 11.1 operating systems. Social media being what it is, waves of hate speech have already unfurled against the small veiled icon.

Details from the story:

  • 16-year-old Rayouf Alhumedhi created a hijab-wearing emoji.
  • The Viennese student also made it into the top 30 most influential teenagers of the US magazine "Time".
  • The Unicode Consortium decides which emojis are officially available.
  • The headscarf emoji triggered a wave of hate speech in the online sphere.
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