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Campaign for a period emoji gathers pace as 20,000 people cast their vote

Campaign for a period emoji gathers pace as 20,000 people cast their vote

A campaign by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK to create a new period emoji is gathering momentum as more than 20,000 people voted for their favourite design.

Launched last Friday (26th May), the campaign aims to breakdown the stigma surrounding periods and make it easier for girls and women to talk about their period with friends, family and colleagues.

Celebrities including comedian Katherine Ryan and actor Sharon Horgan, are backing the campaign, with Katherine Ryan tweeting a photo of herself with one of the emoji designs.

Stats released this week by Plan International UK show the demand for a period emoji in the UK, with nearly half of women aged 18-34 saying they would use an emoji – the popular digital icons used to represent everything from emotions to food – to represent their period, if there was one available.

Half of women in this age group also believe having a period emoji would make it easier for them to talk about their periods with female friends and partners.

The poll showed that the stigma surrounding women and their period is stopping them talking about menstruation with the following groups:

  • Two thirds of women don’t feel comfortable discussing their period with their dad or male friends.
  • More than 1 in 10 women don’t feel comfortable talking about it with their female friends.
  • A quarter of women don’t feel comfortable talking about it with their female peers at work.
  • Only one third of women would feel happy to speak about it with their female superiors at work.

To help bust the taboos that still exist around periods, Plan International UK has designed five icons that will be put to the public vote on social media. The winning designs will be submitted to the California-based consortium that manages the distribution of emojis worldwide.

Ambrin, 14 and from London, is on Plan International UK’s Youth Advisory Panel, she said: “I think a period emoji would really help periods to stop being viewed as something that needs to be hidden.

“There are already emojis that represent most parts of everyday life, so a period emoji would send the message that periods are just normal.”

Lucy Russell, UK Girls’ Rights Campaign Manager at Plan International UK said: “It’s amazing to see so many people get behind this campaign and vote for their favourite design.

“The fact so many women in this country still find it difficult to talk to work colleagues, friends and family about their period shows that it remains a taboo subject and something women feel ashamed to discuss.

“We know that these taboos can have a damaging impact on the lives of girls around the world. Many missing school because they face bullying or unfair treatment, or experiencing infections due to a lack of menstrual hygiene education and products.

“Women have told us that by having an emoji, it will make it easier for them to talk about periods with others and so that’s why we’re addressing the need and creating something that everyone can use. Hopefully this will go some way towards breaking down the stigma surrounding periods once and for all.”

Support Plan International UK’s campaign and vote for your favourite period emoji.