Google proposes empowering female emojis

With a 79-cent wage disparity between men and women in the workplace, it’s no surprise that equality in the business world is still fought-for ideal. But there is even a difference in the way the genders are portrayed professionally in animation.

Enter Google, which has just proposed a new line of emojis that portray women in a variety of careers, reports the USA Today. The collection includes 13 new characters with a “goal of highlighting the diversity of women’s careers and empowering girls everywhere,” according to Google’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium for the new emojis.

While there are currently upwards of 1,000 standardized emojis used worldwide, CNN Money points out that “the current emoji selection feels implicitly sexist, showing men running and policing while women dance and cut their hair.”

In their proposal, Google wrote on the decision to create the emojis: “Given the fact that women are the most frequent emoji users, and that they span a wide professional spectrum not yet reflected in current emoji, we want to help address this pressing matter of equality.”

Acting on this, Google created new characters that depict women as farmers, rock stars, doctors, and even software engineers. While it is not yet confirmed that these emojis will get the green light for a wide release, CNN Money says that their chances look promising.

“One author of the Google submission — Mark Davis — is also the president and co-founder of the Unicode Consortium, which could make it more likely that the proposal will be approved.”

Whether or not the consortium sees a need for the new emojis, Google seems to stand by their decision to craft the new characters:

“No matter where you look, women are gaining visibility and recognition as never before,” Google argued in the proposal. “Isn’t it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?”



Valerie’s ‘Validation Project’

A true sign of strength is being able to turn a difficult situation into valuable experience. That’s exactly what 17-year-old Valerie Weisler did after she was bullied in school over her shyness.

According to CNN Money, just four days before the start of her freshman year of high school, Weisler’s parents divorced, causing her to internalize her feelings and therefore come off as shy to her new classmates.

“Kids would call me mute, make up rumors that I didn’t have the physical capability to speak,” Weisler explained to CNN. “It would take me 10 minutes just to talk back to you.”

Four years later, and not only is Weisler no longer a shy freshman, she is also the CEO of The Validation Project, a global movement she started that is “based on the premise that a little positive affirmation goes a long way.”

CNN explained that the project, which has already had around 6,000 students around the world participate, works in this way: “The Validation Project matches teens from 100 countries with a mentor at companies like Google (GOOG) or Seventeen Magazine. Mentors are paired with teens who share similar passions or skills. They work together for a minimum of four hours per week for two months.”

Once participants complete their time in the program, they then agree to volunteer in some way beyond the program; for example, CNN says that a girl who took dance classes with a professional dancer then went on to teach the choreography at a homeless shelter.

Weisler explained the impetus behind her project, citing an incident in 2013 with a fellow high school student who was bullied by other students for being overweight. Weisler said she went up to him and told him that he mattered, to which he responded explaining his plans to commit suicide later that day. But, her words had an impact on him, as she said he told her that her kindness “really validated him.”

She then conducted a Google search on the meaning of the word “validation,” which inspired the name for her organization. CNN says Weisler started it with just $25 of her babysitting money, which was used to purchase a web domain.

Since then, Weisler has grown The Validation Project into over 900 chapters in schools around the world, earning her a National Jefferson Award for Peace and Justice, says CNN. Going forward, she plans to “register the Validation Project as a 501(c)(3) as soon as she’s legally able to — when she turns 18 in February,” which would allow for donations to be tax-deductible.

Weisler has made quite the name for herself, and those who once bullied her have actually come to her to ask for internships with her organization. And keeping true to the spirit of her project, she let them: “I’m hoping that by showing how powerful being kind is, they won’t feel a need to be mean to someone else.”

Thank you, Valerie Weisler, for showing us the power of kindness. You are truly living the inspired life.

Tyra Takes on the Tech Community

From taking the runway to taking the stage at a technology conference, supermodel, talkshow host and beauty startup owner Tyra Banks did just that when she spoke at the Wall Street Journal tech conference on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

According to CNN Money, the three-day conference featured few women speakers, but Banks was one of the women to command the microphone at the event. An investor in tech startups herself, Banks was not out of place at the conference. But CNN Money explains that Banks was there to talk about more than just entrepreneurship; she married the two subjects together as she spoke on the importance of encouraging women in the workplace. A vocal advocate for female empowerment, Banks made a statement on the matter in the way she knows best — with her outfit, wearing a T-shirt under her blazer that read “I’m an entrepreneur, bitch.”

Speaking on her modeling career, Banks discussed how she ‘broke the glass ceiling,’ becoming the first black model on the cover of Sports Illustrated. From here, she explained that female entrepreneurs need to persevere and “break the powers that be,” while men in positions of power need to allow women the opportunity to succeed.

“Do research about what female leaders can bring to you that a man cannot,” Banks said, according to CNN Money. “Divorce a lot of these preconceived notions that we have as children [about] how we see women in the workplace.”

At Banks’ own startup, Tyra Beauty, she explained that she actually had to make a concerted effort to employ men, considering she is so “pro-women.”

Just how pro-women is she? CNN Money reports that her beauty line features a lipstick shade called “Ask for a raise,” because she wants to “encourage women to do just that.”

Thank you, Tyra Banks, for not only telling us, but showing us how to break the glass ceiling to become powerful forces in the workplace and in the world.