Always removes packaging's female symbol to make sanitary towels inclusive

Always: The sanitary towel brand has changed its packaging to be more inclusive. [Photo: Getty]
Always: The sanitary towel brand has changed its packaging to be more inclusive. [Photo: Getty]

A leading sanitary product brand has announced its decision to remove a feminine logo from packaging, in order to be more inclusive.

Always, owned by Proctor & Gamble, will remove the feminine Venus symbol – a sign derived from astrological symbols often used to represent females – from its packaging.

The symbol is currently used on the packaging of individual sanitary towels, in certain multipacks sold by the brand.

This move is out of consideration for transgender and non-binary people who use the products.

It follows a series of complaints on Twitter from transgender activists. Campaigners Melly Boom and Ben Saunders were among the first to call out the company for having a female symbol on their packaging, according to the Daily Mail.

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Both individuals have since made their accounts private.

In a letter to Saunders, which has since been shared online, Sheryl, a member of the Always team, confirmed the new packaging design will begin to replace the old one from December 2019 onwards, with the newer designs distributed everywhere by February 2020.

Some have welcomed the change, including UK-based trans community group Trans Actual.

However, not everyone is on board with the change, with some others are calling to boycott Always over it.

Opponents are arguing that the change is unfair because the “vast majority” of sanitary towel users are women.

Yahoo UK contacted Always for comment. A representative told us: "For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity & inclusion, and after hearing from many people across genders and age groups, we realised that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female. To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so with Always, we updated our pad wrapper design.

They added: "Our mission remains to ensure no girl loses confidence at puberty because of her gender or period and we do this through our puberty education programs, by providing access to period products with programs such as #EndPeriodPoverty, and by using our brand voice to tackle societal barriers and stigmas like we did with #LikeAGirl."

Companies around the world are increasingly moving towards a more diverse and inclusive treatment of gender, such as restaurant chain Wagamama who earlier this year announced its decision to launch gender-neutral toilets to 40% of its locations.

Then there was Air Canada’s decision earlier this month to use gender-neutral terms on flights instead of greeting passengers 'ladies and gentlemen'.