Push for periods to get an emoji - and you can vote for the design

A period emoji could be happening - and you can help choose which one.
A period emoji could be happening - and you can help choose which one. Photo: Plan International UK

"It's just a period. It's normal, natural, and happens every month. So why are periods considered such a taboo?" That's the question at the centre of a campaign, driven by Plan International Australia and Plan International UK, to have a stigma-busting period emoji added to our keyboards.

And the best part is, we're being invited to help decide on the design they'll ultimately present to Unicode Consortium, the body in charge of managing emoji.

The potential candidates include: "The Calender", "The Blood drops", "The Pants", "The Pad," and "The Uterus."

Take a look:

 

While it's obviously fantastic that we might have an emoji to adequately express when we need chocolate/tampons/The Notebook/a hot water bottle, there's an important message behind the campaign.

"The average woman menstruates for 3,000 days in her lifetime," Plan International UK writes on its website. "That's 8.2 years!" Despite this, research conducted by the organisation indicates that 64 per cent of women in the UK, "would feel uncomfortable discussing their period with their male friends."

And that's a statistic they want to change.

"It's time the conversation was made easier," the not-for-profit organisation continues, adding that half of women, aged 18-34, said they'd find it easier to talk about their period with their partner, if they had a period emoji to help.

But the emojis aren't simply about helping women talk periods with their partners. According to research reported by Plan International UK:

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  • 90 per cent of girls in rural areas of Ghana felt ashamed during their period
  • 1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school when they have their period, leading to higher school drop out rates.
  • In communities in India, women and girls are not allowed to enter the kitchen or cook food while menstruating as some people believe it will cause food to go bad or rot.

Last year, a 15-year-old Nepali girl died after being banished to a "menstrual hut" during her period. The young woman lit a fire in the mud hut and was found dead the following morning, with police reporting her cause of death as lack of oxygen. It was the second such death within a month according to Nepal's My Republica. Despite being outlawed by the Supreme Court in 2005, the practice, called Chhaupadi, is still occurring in some far-western districts.

 
And these are just some of the many reasons why the #periodemoji matters.

To vote on your favourite design, visit the Plan International UK Website or Plan International Australia's Facebook Page. Voting ends June 2 -  and there's already fierce debate about the selections.

"Hope it will be the calendar," writes Manna Baron. "The other two are just wrong, I don't want to see a used pad ...I see enough used pads when I have my periods!"

"Great idea," writes Cat Conlon. "About time women were presented as human with natural bodily functions. Break the stigma of periods being unclean or immoral, end that blue liquid on a sanitary pad rubbish. Who TF cares if you find it gross, it affects half the planet at some stage."

Amen to that.