How Rayouf Alhumedhi Fought To Have A Voice In The Digital Age

How a 14 year old girl fought to have a voice - or in this case an image - in the digital age.

Reddit calls itself “the front page of the internet”, and as the sixth most visited site in the world, they have a pretty good claim to that argument.  Their 300 million active users are free to share, create, and discuss everything from politics to baby elephants with a global community of information seekers.  

So when Rayouf Alhumedhi never received a response to her letter to Apple about their lack of inclusion of a woman wearing a hijab in their emoji menu, she decided to try a different approach.  She took her grievances to the people of the world – via Reddit.

“In the age of digitalization, pictures prove to be a crucial element in communication,” she wrote.

Indeed.  In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary set a new precedent when it made the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji its “word” of the year for 2015, saying “Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens.  Instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers.”

Alhumedhi’s official proposal would go on to explain that “roughly 550 million Muslim women on this earth pride themselves on wearing the hijab. With this enormous number of people, not a single space on the keyboard is reserved for them.” Turns out a lot of people on Reddit agreed with her, and together, they did something about it.

Reddit co-founder and WORLDZ Master Alexis Ohanian explains how it all went down on the WORLDZ Main Stage.


Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit. He is a WORLDZ Master and delivered a Keynote address at WORLDZ 2017.