A ‘period emoji’ designed to help normalise menstruation included in 2019 list of new emojis
- The ‘period emoji’ symbolised by a drop of blood is included in list of new emojis
- It was included in the list after a campaign by the Plan International UK charity
- 59 new emojis, featuring more inclusive characters, will be released in 2019
The ‘small penis’ emoji may have garnered all the attention following the announcement of 59 new additions, but many people hope it’s the women’s period emoji, symbolised by a drop of blood, that gets people talking.
This week, the Unicode Consortium — the non-profit organisation in charge of creating and maintaining the emoji language standards — announced 59 newcomers that make up the class of 2019.
They are designed to more widely reflect members of society, including emojis for men and women in wheelchairs, blind people and guide dogs.
The period emoji was included in the list after a campaign by the Plan International UK charity
The drop of blood emoji was promoted by Plan International UK and is intended to help normalise periods, and break down the stigma around them.
The charity’s campaign comes on the back of its 2017 survey, in which it found, among other things, that two-thirds of women do not feel comfortable discussing their periods with their fathers or male friends.
The survey also found that nearly half of girls aged between 14 and 21 were embarrassed by their periods.
‘With emoji becoming one of the fastest growing global languages, we realised having a period emoji could help change things,’ the charity explained on its website.
It initially submitted a design that featured a pair of women’s underwear with blood on them.
Nearly 55,000 people voted for the design, and although that was rejected, the drop of blood, created in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant, was ultimately included in the February 2019 batch.
Lucy Russell, head of girls’ rights and youth at the charity, said: ‘The inclusion of an 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.’
She added: ‘An emoji isn’t going to solve this, but it can help change the conversation. Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it.’
The response on social media has been very positive. One person, commenting on Plan International’s tweet about the news, described the new emoji as ‘stunning and brave’. Another wrote: ‘Every step to erase the stigma counts!’
The new period emoji and the other 58 additions will be released in the second half of 2019.