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International Group Calls for 'Period Emoji' to Address Taboo of Menstruation

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An international child rights group, Plan International, on Tuesday called for a ‘period emoji’ on mobile devices to help break the taboo surrounding menstruation

The charity organisation said women’s monthly flow is still considered a taboo in many countries around the world, arguing it’s often considered embarrassing or shameful.

Women refer to periods using some 5,000 euphemisms, such as “on the rag” and “Bloody Mary”, a 2016 survey of 90,000 people in 190 countries found.

“Girls and women have told us about the embarrassment and shame they suffer when it’s their period. We need to make it easier to talk about something that is part of everyday life,” said the Plan International’s campaigns manager, Danny Vannucchi.

The group notes that while there are symbols for avocado, a telescope, and even a unicorn, menstruation is not represented as an ’emoji’ — a small icon on smartphones and tablets commonly used to express emotions or physical things.

“That is something Plan International wants to change,” the group said.

The charity on Friday launched five ‘period emojis’ and invited the public to vote for their preferred icon. It said that as of Monday, more than 15,000 people had voted. The winning design will be submitted to coding consortium Unicode for consideration, which distributes emojis across mobile devices.

“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,” Vannucchi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He said issues related to reproduction and the sexual health of girls are often considered “dirty”, so girls are forced to keep quiet about menstruation which adds to the taboo.

He said: “It’s completely normal, but in many settings there is still a false belief that menstruation is dirty and shameful. “These taboos can have a damaging impact on the lives of girls and adolescents, from missing school because they face bullying or unfair treatment, to causing infections due to a lack of menstrual hygiene education and products.”

On any given day more than 800 million women between 15 and 49 have their period. However, globally 1.25 billion women do not have access to a toilet during menstruation, according to the charity WaterAid.

The UN estimates that due to a lack of facilities, one in 10 girls in Africa will miss school during their period and will eventually drop out of school as a result.

International Group Calls for 'Period Emoji' to Address Taboo of Menstruation International Group Calls for 'Period Emoji' to Address Taboo of Menstruation Reviewed by on 5/31/2017 Rating: 5

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