Facebook just made a subtle but important change toward gender equality

When you log onto Facebook, you’re likely so caught up in the onslaught of brunch and baby pics that you don’t pay too much attention to the logos on your profile. But you might have missed a subtle detail about Facebook’s old “Friends” logo that may have implied some degree of gender bias.

In the old Facebook “Friends” icon, a man was shown in silhouette and a woman was shown smaller, indicating that she was standing behind him. This difference was noticed by Facebook design manager Caitlin Winner, who, upon noticing the it, immediately set to the task of what she called her “many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design.”


Winner previewed the new egalitarian design in a blog post. Her new, updated design is now being used widely on Facebook’s many products and platforms.

This subtle change may seem negligible, but not when you consider that in the tech industry — even at Facebook, whose COO is vocal feminist Sheryl Sandburg — women occupy far from an equal space in the workplace. Currently, 68% of Facebook’s employees worldwide are men, CNN reports. In tech as a whole, 84% are men, including 77% of those in leadership.

Here’s to hoping that small changes like this one continue to make a big impact at workplaces across the globe, no matter whether the employees in them are checking Facebook or actually working.