Plan International Australia celebrates new stigma-smashing period emoji, now officially available on the Unicode keyboard

A period emoji is now available on millions of smartphones around the world, after years of campaigning by girls’ equality organisation Plan International. 

The blood drop emoji is now available in the latest Apple iOS 13.2 and Android 10 updates, giving 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.

The period emoji comes after more than 55,000 people in the UK and Australia called for it to be added to the global keyboard in 2017, in a campaign led by global girls’ equality charity Plan International. 

Research from Plan International UK has 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 dying in menstruation huts. 

“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. 

“Emojis are a universal language. For Unicode to recognise that menstruation should be represented in the new global language is a huge step towards breaking down a global culture of shame around periods.

“Thank you to every Australian who joined our campaign to make this happen, we hope you will be celebrating with us today.” 

The blood drop emoji is the result of a joint successful submission to Unicode from Plan International UK and NHS Blood and Transplant. 

Media Contact
Jane Gardner, Media & Ambassador Manager, 0438 130 905 jane.gardner@plan.org.au 

About Plan International Australia
Plan International Australia works around the world to tackle the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice for children. Plan International strives to make girls truly visible: acknowledging their power and potential, and taking a stand when they are exploited, discriminated against and silenced – this includes abroad and in Australia.