#ItsTimeForAction around Menstruation stigma
Periods are a regular natural occurrence for females, which happens every month. The menstrual cycle effects women differently, from minimal or mild discomfort to severe debilitating pain preventing them from doing their day-to-day activities. Some women can feel embarrassed about having their period or want to avoid social or workplace situations because of the taboo surrounding menstruation. Unfortunately, taboo around periods is not restricted to one culture, but a global issue that we need to address.
One big issue is when young girls miss education because of their period. According to WASH UNITED, one of our fellow’s enterprises, in India 70% of girls had not learnt about menstruation before they experienced their first period. Girls may not go to school during their period due to lack of affordable sanitary products, the right facilities in their schools, not having a safe/private space to change sanitary items and lack of self-esteem. In addition, many women who are on their periods are not allowed to be in the kitchen or to attend ritual practices, making activities difficult.
According to the Independent, more than 137,700 of girls in the UK missed school in 2017 because they could not afford menstrual products. In addition, a survey reveals that more than one in three UK women has experienced period shaming, through bullying, isolation or jokes about it.
In Kenya, almost 1 million girls missed up to 6 weeks of school each year because they lack access to sanitary pads, according to our Making More Health fellow Megan White Mukuria foundation ZanaAfrica.
“Menstrual literacy and education is so important because menstrual health is a lens. Everything starts with a girl and her body at the start of her period,” Megan Mukuria, MMH Fellow, Founder of ZanaAfrica Foundation
The key to helping girls around the world get rid of the stigma of the period will be by raising awareness, education for both girls and boys and increase the affordability of hygiene products, join us this menstrual hygiene day and together we can ensure access to menstrual products for all!