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.
Smear tests aren't always easy but ladies let’s help #EndSmearFear by talking more about our vaginas, cervixes and smear tests. There’s no vagina emoji but my favourite is a ?? x— Louise Redknapp (@LouiseRedknapp) 16 September 2019
Smear tests aren't always easy but let’s help #EndSmearFear by talking more about our vaginas, cervixes and smear tests. There’s no vagina emoji but my favourite is ?? and my smear test tip is to chat with the nurse during it. Chatting freely helps to relax me. What's yours?— TONI TONE (@t0nit0ne) 16 September 2019
Smear tests aren't always easy so let’s help #EndSmearFear by talking more about them. I got the nation talking about Fanny Flutters now let's do the same with vaginas, cervixes and smear tests! Starting with a hunt for our favourite vagina emoji. Mine is definitely ??— Maura Higgins (@MauraHiggins) 16 September 2019
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.