One small step for Facebook, one giant leap for gender equality

One small step for Facebook, one giant leap for gender equality

Look closely ... do you see it? A very subtle change to an icon within Facebook is getting people talking.

You may not have even noticed it, but recently Facebook made a change that is causing gender equality advocates to cheer.

Facebook has changed the “Friends” icon you see in the upper right corner of the page when you login. Originally, it had the appearance of a male silhouette in front with a smaller female silhouette behind him. Now, it shows the two standing side by side with equal size — and it even appears the female silhouette is slightly in front of the man’s, according to a CNN report.

This is not a small deal for gender equality advocates, particularly on a platform that caters to 1.4 billion people.

And it’s not only that: the new “Groups” icon now depicts a women between two men, when before a man was in the center with another man and a woman on either side.

You can thank Facebook design manager Caitlin Winner, who noticed the gender discrepancies, and the fact that the man cut off the woman’s shoulder in the icon, prompting her to draw it in. And that only drew her in deeper and deeper into a more major redesign than had been anticipated.

She also made changes to the hair styles of the woman and the man, although it was the more prominent placement of the woman that drew the most attention.

It’s a welcome change for a company that has in the past been accused of not being a very inclusive place in terms of hiring, with about 69 percent of its work force reportedly male.

The changes will take effect on Facebook platforms all around the world. The company also made subtle changes to the design of its logo.

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