“Drop of blood” emoji representing menstruation to hit universal keyboards

An emoji of a small drop of blood which signifies menstruation will soon be available across smartphone keyboards, according to the Unicode Consortium, the official body that manages emojis worldwide.

Reports confirmed that the emoji was approved together with a further 229 new emojis, and will be rolled out on smartphone keyboards worldwide this spring.

Many experts on women’s issues noted that the move was a step toward the end of “period shame”.

“Period shame” is not specific to individual countries or regions, but is an issue faced on a global level.

Fourteen percent of girls asked said they didn’t know what a period was when they started, and 26 percent didn’t know what to do, according to a survey compiled by Plan International UK, a development and humanitarian organization that advocates children’s rights and equality for girls.

Moreover, 48 percent of girls asked felt embarrassed because of menstruation, and 49 percent said they had taken a day off due to dysmenorrheal, the survey revealed.

Women in China are no different. 28-year-old Jiang Lin shared her embarrassment with Beijing Youth Daily that she once got her period in class, staining her pants, which forced her to leave the classroom until everyone else had gone home.

Although the conversation surrounding periods is changing slowly, many women still consider menstruation a taboo, especially when they are buying sanitary towels and tampons.

Emojis are becoming a new language tool and bringing convenience in the age of globalization. Forty-seven percent of women aged between 18 and 34 believe that the blood emoji will make the discussion of their periods easier.

The approval was announced on Feb. 6 by Plan International UK, aiming to break the silence, embarrassment, and stigma surrounding menstruation.

The blood emoji is a step towards ending period shame, according to Lucy Russell, head of Girls’ Rights and Youth at Plan International UK. She noted that although emojis were not able to ease all negative impacts, they could change the conversation.

“The inclusion of an emoji which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month is a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them,” she said.