Normalising periods with a new emoji

Women around the world are cheering the advent of the new period emoji – a picture of a drop of blood – that is set to hit our smartphone keyboards in the next few months.

The campaign was led by girls' rights group Plan International UK with the aim of drawing attention to the sense of shame that still lingers amongst girls and women concerning their period. In order to counter the stigma that still surrounds menstruation, a new period emoji for global smartphone keyboards was designed to heighten awareness and add it to the new digital and emotional vocabulary.

Out of five emoji designs voted on by over 55,000 people, the winner, a pair of period pants which was voted number one, was knocked back by Unicode – the official body that manages emojis worldwide – and accepted the runner up, the drop of blood instead.

Head of Girls' Rights and Youth at Plan International UK, Lucy Russell, told Mashable that the period emoji, "which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month, is a huge step towards normalising periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them.

"For years we’ve obsessively silenced and euphemised periods. As experts in girls’ rights, we know that this has a negative impact on girls; girls feel embarrassed to talk about their periods, they’re missing out, and they can suffer health implications as a consequence."

Russell added that an emoji won't necessarily solve the issue surrounding period stigma and silence, but it will "help change the conversation" and end "the shame around periods."

Some of the stats surrounding this most normal of bodily functions are quite alarming, particularly in countries considered amongst leading developed nations.

According to the UK’s Plan International website, 40% of UK girls have had to use a toilet roll because they can’t afford sanitary products; 48% of girls aged between 14 and 21 are embarrassed by their periods and almost 70% of schoolgirls aren’t allowed to go to the toilet during class time.

Check out Plan International UK's Menstrual Manifesto 


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