By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Women can’t swim, surf, or ride a bike? Be police officers or construction workers?

Well, of course they can. But you might not know it if emoji was your only mode of communication.

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Apple is moving to change that with a software update this fall, but some say the designs still lack diversity.

The new emoji will roll out to iPhones and iPads this fall with the release of iOS 10. There’s a female cop, a woman weightlifting, one catching a wave, a basketball player, swimmer, cyclist, and more.

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“I think it’s generally a step in the right direction, but it’s still not a perfect reflection of women or women of color yet,” says Liz Brown — cofounder of Webjunto, a web and mobile app development company in Northern Liberties.

She’s multiethnic, and finds emoji have the same problem as avatars in video games: “diversity” seems to mean shades of brown, white, and yellow.

“I have very curly hair, and you can never find that in avatars or emojis, so I have constantly gone out of my way to download special emojis that have curly hair who are women,” she says. “In gaming, I have to download an expansion pack or purchase a custom-made kit by someone else who plays the game. And even with that, it’s difficult to find curly hair. I’m very concerned about my nieces and nephews, because they don’t see representations of themselves either.”

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Some might scoff, but others find inclusion important for this visual language — shouldn’t it be a snapshot of our world, and look like its users?
Apple says it’s “working closely” with a standards group to ensure they “reflect the diversity of people everywhere.”