Emoji campaign encourages women to talk about vaginas and smear tests

One in three young women miss their smear test. A new campaign, devised by The Romans, aims to tackle this through the use of emojis.

Emoji campaign encourages women to talk about vaginas and smear tests

Experts agree that more needs to be done to normalise conversations about vaginas, cervixes and smear tests.

The alarmingly high proportion of women who miss these tests backs up these claims.

More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK and nearly 900 don’t survive. As well as this, attendance of smear tests (despite being the most effective protection against the disease) is falling. One in three young women are not choosing to take the test when invited.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust tasked The Romans with developing a campaign to reach young women and get a conversation started about the importance of smear tests.

Also working with Twitter, they came up with an idea to ask British women to tweet their favourite emoji to represent female genitalia to help #EndSmearFear.

The campaign aims to open up conversation around topics such as vaginas, cervixes and smear tests on the platform, encouraging women to speak out about their experiences.

It went viral, trending on Twitter and being picked up by national newspapers and magazines, including coverage on Cosmo, MirrorSun, Independent and on the BBC and Sky News.

Celebs backing the campaign include Louise Redknapp, Maura Higgins, Lolly Adefope, Toni Tone, Scarlett Moffatt, Charlotte Crosby, Chloe Delevingne, Vicky Pattinson, Chloe Sims and lots more.

To date, there have been more than 5,000 #EndSmearFear tweets with a cumulative rech of 1.3 billion.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust head of communications Kate Sanger said: "We want to help reduce some of the fear and uncertainty around smear tests and have seen first-hand the power of social media in doing this. We’re pleased to be working with Twitter to see smear tests, cervixes and vaginas talked about as normally as using an emoji. 

"By encouraging positive conversations we hope more women will feel comfortable asking questions, know where to find support and feel able to book a test if they choose to do so."

Katy Minshall, head of public policy at Twitter UK, added: "Emojis are a core part of Twitter conversation and we want to break down some of the uncertainty and fear about smear tests, and talking about them, with this simple, light-hearted campaign."

Visit the campaign website to learn more.

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