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Plan International Announces Period Underwear Emoji as Design Winner

WOKING - A pair of period underpants has been chosen as the winning design following a campaign to create a new period emoji by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK. More than 54,600 people voted for their favorite design on the charity’s website, which also included a sanitary pad, a monthly calendar, period blood droplets, and a uterus.

Launched at the end of May, the campaign aims to break down 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, actress Sharon Horgan, and author Kathy Lette are all backing the campaign, with Katherine Ryan tweeting a photo of herself with one of the emoji designs.

Bestselling author, Kathy Lette, said: “It’s unbelievable that there's an emoji for a floppy disk and tacos but not for something 800 million women and girls are experiencing on any given day. That's why I’m supporting Plan International UK’s campaign to introduce a period emoji, because menstruation is completely normal and people shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed talking about it.

“Tampons are nothing more than freedom with strings attached.”

A recent poll by Plan International UK showed a 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 the 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 survey also 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 one 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
  • Only one third of women would feel happy to speak about it with their female superiors at work.

The winning design will now be submitted to the Unicode consortium, a California-based company that manages the distribution of emojis worldwide, before the closing deadline in September.

Lucy Russell, UK Girls’ Rights Campaign Manager at Plan International UK said: “It’s fantastic to see just how many people got behind this campaign and voted for their favorite design. I think it sends a powerful message that women do want an emoji which represents menstruation.

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

“We're not saying that an emoji would solve all of these problems, but it will start a conversation and raise awareness of the challenges women and girls face worldwide – and that can only be a good thing.”

Note to Editors: To find out more about the campaign and the taboos around menstruation, visit: www.plan-uk.org/emoji.

About the Research

Opinium polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was carried out 21st to 24th February and between 5th and the 8th May 2017 via online survey. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Opinium is an award winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on pulse of what people think, feel, and do.

About Plan International USA

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan believes in the power and potential of every child. Working together with children, young people, supporters, and partners, Plan strives for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.

For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org.

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