I came across the most interesting article this morning: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/14/menstruation-myths_n_7495568.html
It listed Nine different ways menstruation is looked at across the world by women and by society. You simply have to read it to understand the “Taboo” that is the female menstrual period. It made me sad. Very sad.
The way women think is mainly influenced by what society says.
Now I know it’s not “Politically Correct” to talk about certain things – but I think we need to drop politics from most things and deal with issues because they are real and we face them (or hide away from them) every single day.
In the past 18 months my eyes have been opened WIDE as to the horrific reality of how women are treated, treat themselves and deal with an issue that all women will face every month for an average of 3 to 5 decades during their life.
It’s not what we want to talk about but it’s something that affects us all (male and female) and something that must be brought to light.
Here are some global facts according to www.menstrualhygiene.org :
- In India, 66 % of girls-only schools do not have functioning toilets.
- 83% of girls in Burkina Faso and 77% in Niger have no place at school to change their sanitary menstrual materials.
- 32.5% of schoolgirls from South Asia had not heard about menstruation prior to menarche and an overwhelming 97.5% did not know that menstrual blood came from the uterus.
- In Sierra Leone, girls who are normally active classroom participants sit in the back because they worried about emitting an odor or leaking through their clothes while menstruating.
- A study at a school in Uganda found that half of the girl pupils missed 1-3 school days a month, or 8-24 school days a year.
- UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls miss school during menses, eventually leading to a higher school drop out rate.
- In Ghana, girls miss up to 5 days a month attributed to inadequate sanitation facilities and the lack of sanitary products at school as well as physical discomfort due to menstruation, such as cramps.
Now, the more I talk about this, the more people nod their heads and like my posts. And that is wonderful. Creating awareness is a big part of our #Pads4Petals Initiative.
Let me give you some more facts based on various conversations held with key stakeholders in the NGO World here in Kenya and in some specific communities:
- Women use leaves
- Women are confined to a certain part of the homestead. They are not allowed to cook, or share meals with their families.
- Women construct crude “Menstrual Belts” to hold their DIY pads in place.
- The pads are made out of rags, or cotton (more affluent and expensive)
- Most people give ONCE to the cause and then move on BUT the situation still remains the same.
And here’s something I am fast discovering: More time and money is invested in developing sex education curriculums for school going children and teenagers than in developing sustainable solutions for providing menstrual hygiene kits in low income areas and marginalized communities.
Here’s what I’m saying.
a) We cannot continue to ignore this situation. The more we talk about it, the more solutions we can come up with.
b) We can no longer depend on governments to solve this problem – it affects ALL of us in one way or another.
c) We can no longer wait for a “foreign savior” to ride in on a white horse with a magic carriage full of sanitary towels that will never run out.
d) I will not be silenced (those of you who know me know this to be true) and I beg you to not be silent either. If you’re not comfortable speaking out audibly, then speak LOUDLY with your actions.
So here’s the deal:
- Educate yourself
- Get the conversations flowing
- Donate! Either in Cash or in Kind (If you’re not sure how, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Like / Follow us on Social Media
- Get your people to Donate! #Each1Reach1
- Volunteer (Sign up for our Volunteer Program on the website or email us on email@example.com)
- This is not just a “girl” thing – men can be a part of this movement too. We’ll take your support, advise AND money 🙂
So finally, I am all girl and love all things girly (I’m that chick in your life) so here are some pretty words of wisdom from Christian Dior”
"After Women, Flowers Are The Most Divine Creations"
You are Beautiful – Empowered – Visionary
You are @BeautifulPetal_