Recent research among 2.000 woman in Australia showed that 7 out of 10 felt uncomfortable to talk about their period with male co-workers and only 1 in 3 felt happy to discuss their period with female bosses. 75% of the school girls involved with the research refuse to discuss their period with male teachers and half of them feel reluctant to talk to female teachers about it. [The Guardian]
The same is, of course, true here in South Africa. Menstruation is seen as ‘women’s business’ and discussing it openly is unthinkable. In some cultures, your period is seen as ‘making you unclean’.
The problem is that with this silence, comes ignorance and misinformation. Educating our girls is paramount to cultivating female health and will go a long way to cast light into the shadow of superstition surrounding menstruation.
In an effort to create awareness and to bring about change in the thwarted opinions on menstruation, Plan International UK and Plan Australia have launched a campaign to introduce a period emoji [The Guardian].
In our own country, organizations like Dignity Dreams are supporting menstrual health education and awareness. Not only do they distribute reusable sanitary pads, but they’ve recently printed a booklet called “My Body No Shame”, which will help girls understand the mechanics of their bodies and prove to them that having your period is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed.
Your contribution will help Dignity Dreams in their work. If you want to order the booklet (it comes in two sizes: A5 and A6), order sanitary packs for your local school or if you just want to give a donation, please visit their website here.
As Caitlin Figueiredo writes in The Guardian: “If we’re going to make any progress to achieve gender equality, we need to first encourage people to talk about their period and to challenge the idea that there is a “problem” with menstruation and girls’ bodies.
It’s time to stop discriminating against a bodily function that makes humankind a possibility. Let’s say it loud and clear and often: there’s no shame in menstruating.” You can read her article here.
- A period emoji could help girls talk about menstruation. That would be a big deal. [Web:] The Guardian: bit.ly/2reFLSz
- Dignity Dreams on Facebook. 2017. Booklet: My Body No Shame post on 8 Aug.