The day has finally come! A period emoji is now available for millions of smartphone users around the world, after years of campaigning by girls’ equality organisation Plan International. The blood drop emoji gives anyone who menstruates a new way to talk about their periods.
Unicode – the California-based organisation that manages the distribution of emojis – has released the blood drop emoji alongside a host of inclusive emojis, including hearing aids, wheelchairs, guide dogs and prosthetic limbs. In 2017, over 55,000 people in the UK and Australia called for it to be added to the global keyboard in a campaign led by Plan.
Research from Plan International UK has also revealed a clear need for more accessible ways of talking about menstruation. Their survey of women aged 18-34 found half (47%) believed a period emoji would make it easier for them to talk about their periods with female friends and partners.
Susanne Legena, CEO of Plan International Australia, said the period emoji has been a long time coming. “We are so thrilled to see this emoji finally available on our smartphone keyboards,” Ms Legena said. “For too long, periods have been obsessively silenced and euphemised. We know that this has a terrible impact on girls in particular, ranging from girls feeling embarrassed to talk about their periods with their peers, to girls missing school for fear of being shamed, to girls suffering serious reproductive health problems.
“The issue of period stigma is a serious one and while an emoji isn’t going to solve this on its own, it will help change the conversation. Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it."