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Its time to change the conversation about periods – starting with a period emoji

Its time to change the conversation about periods – starting with a period emoji

Last week, I spoke to my dad about periods – for the first time in my life. 

The conversation might never have happened if I hadn’t been telling him about our period emoji campaign. And I’m not alone. 

Two thirds of women in the UK don’t feel comfortable discussing their period with their dad or their male friends, while more than 1 in 10 women don’t feel comfortable talking about it with their female friends.

Which is why, with so much stigma surrounding periods, it’s not surprising that girls and women still can’t use one of the fastest growing global languages – emoji – to talk about their periods.

It’s time that changed. Which is why we’re launching the second phase of our period emoji campaign today – and we need you to join us in spreading the word.

Period emoji: the story so far

Our period emoji campaign first launched in May last year. 

Back then, 54,600 of you voted for your favourite period emoji design, and we submitted the winner, our period pants, to Unicode (the official body that manages emojis worldwide). 

It wasn’t accepted. So now, we’re trying again with the second most popular design from our vote: the blood drop – and we'd love you to take our poll and tell us what you think of it.

Design of a plain blood drop emoji
Our period emoji blood drop design

But why is breaking the silence surrounding periods so important? 

As our first-of-its-kind report, Break the Barriers, shows, girls in the UK are: 

  • Growing up feeling ashamed of their bodies, impacting their sense of self-worth. 
  • Not getting the information they need to understand what’s happening when they get their first period, or what to do about it.
  • Unable to identify what a healthy period looks like, and when to seek medical attention.

Period poverty also means that some girls in the UK are having to create their own sanitary products, because they're struggling to afford the items they need. 

Our research shows 40% have used toilet paper, while 27% have overused a sanitary product because they couldn’t afford a fresh one – putting their health at risk. 

A change for girls globally

Girls in the UK aren’t alone.

Every month, these experiences are shared around the world: 90% of girls in rural areas of Ghana felt ashamed during their period, while 51% of girls in Afghanistan were unaware of menstruation before they got their first period. 

In the 21st century, girls shouldn’t have to grow up feeling this way about themselves and their bodies. 

And while getting a period emoji won’t solve everything, it will give more girls across the globe the opportunity to talk openly about their periods. 

With that comes the chance of even more conversations and even greater change – like the ideas we’re recommending in our brand new Menstrual Manifesto – and an end at last to periods being associated with stigma, shame and taboo.