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Woman fighting gender biases one emoji at a time reflects on ’empowering’ battle

The California mom who is fighting the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes, and rallied for the creation of a flat shoe emoji, called the announcement that her proposal was approved "hard to believe, and incredibly empowering."

On Wednesday, Unicode Consortium, the official body that approves new emojis, announced that 157 new digital pictorial symbols would be added to their lexicon in 2018. The new batch of emojis include a lobster, a mango, and the much fought-after flat shoe.

Florie Hutchinson, the California mother who initially started petitioning for the creation of a flat shoe emoji, told ABC News she is "thrilled and humbled" that the emoji has been green-lighted by Unicode.

"It’s hard to believe, and incredibly empowering, to see how quickly an idea can become a reality when you decide to actively pursue it," the mother of three daughters said.

She added that she hopes her work inspires her young daughters to not be afraid to speak up and advocate for change.

"It’s easy to tell them to speak up, advocate for others, and work hard but in this very personal instance, they’ve seen that effort really does yield results," Hutchinson said. "Plus, they now have options when they interact with emoji of the shoe category. They don’t have to be high-heeled … they can be flat shoe wearing female superheroes."

Last fall, Hutchinson told ABC News that she was fighting for the creation of the emoji because of how she witnessed her young daughters interacting with the language of emojis as they grew up, and because she noticed that all of the female-designated shoe options possessed a high heel.

She added that she felt the entire women's apparel category of emojis seemed "entrenched in this antiquated idea of what women should look like."

"The worst culprit in my mind is the default emoji for 'bathing suit.' It is literally a buxom-y bikini," she said. "Compound that with the fact that the 'twinning' emoji is actually a Playboy bunny."

"I have to believe that symbols matter," she said. "I think being dismissive of the importance of emojis is missing something significant."

Smartphone users can expect the new emojis to be released in August or September of this year, according to Unicode.

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