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Flo launches Slack emojis to tackle stigma around periods in the workplace

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

May 26, 2021 | 3 min read

Health and period tracker app Flo has partnered with designer Sophia Luu to curate a set of four menstruation-related Slack emojis to better represent the experiences of people who menstruate while working.

Up to 90% of people who menstruate have painful periods, and 80% report difficulties in managing productivity due to menstrual-related symptoms. Despite menstruation being a natural monthly occurrence for around half the workforce, discussions around the impact of periods in the workplace are still stigmatized.

The Slack emojis created by Flo and Luu help people coping with period symptoms communicate the ups and downs of their cycles – whether it’s the need to take time off, skip video calls or warn others of general crankiness – and each emoji comes with a guide that explains when and how to use it, and how to react if a colleague uses it.

Despite their normality, discussions surrounding menstruation in the workplace are still extremely stigmatized

period emoji

Luu herself is a design consultant at McKinsey, who told 11,000 people she was on her period by updating her Slack status with the red drop emoji. It then went viral on LinkedIn, sparking conversations about the treatment of menstruation in the workplace.

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“It’s normal for me to throw up from pain on my period, and I found myself uncontrollably cramping during meetings,” says Luu.

Creating the emojis was “my way of saying, ‘I’m in pain, please be mindful and recognize that I might not have the energy to deal with some tasks.’”

The launch of the emojis also comes ahead of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which takes place on May 28 and aims to break the silence around periods, and tackle the stigma around them for the benefit of women, girls and people around the world who menstruate.

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