All posts filed under: Menstruation Matters

Menstruation is a Trade Union Issue

This post was originally published in Swedish by The Union of Academics (Akademikerförbundet SSR).  The shame and ignorance surrounding menstruation are obstacles that prevent women around the world from getting an education and working. Swedish trade unions agree: Periods are a union matter. Periods are very much an issue for trade unions – and not a minor one either. On that, the Swedish trade unions are in complete agreement. In an opinion piece published by Swedish newspaper Dagens Arena on Tuesday, six unions, including The Union of Academics (Akademikerförbundet SSR), clarify that menstruation is a vital question of both women’s health and women’s rights on the labour market. Some 800 million people around the world are menstruating on any given day. Despite that, periods are often tainted with guilt, shame and taboos. In Dagens Arena the unions state that: “In many places, women who are menstruating are seen as unclean and are denied the right to work during the days they are bleeding. Periods are also fundamentally a question of health. Around 88 percent of …

5 Reasons Why I am Opting for Reusable Sanitary Towels

Post written by Helen Patricia Amutuhaire, Content Developer, Reach A Hand, Uganda I have finally found a solution to my menstrual challenges and it took me a total of 15 minutes. It happened at the Science Cafe hosted by the Health Journalists Network in Uganda (HEJNU) and supported by Reach A Hand, Uganda and UNFPA Uganda. Since 2015, I have been suffering from burns every month due to the use of disposable sanitary pads (towels). Perhaps it’s because my flow has reduced recently or because I am older now (23), or perhaps it’s a reaction to the gel used in the pads. Whatever the reason, the burns put me through hell because the pain is unbearable. The option of tampons is uncomfortable for me, but I still needed to use something. I am still young…these periods are here for a while! The solution became clear as we discussed menstrual hygiene at the Science Cafe. I have been hearing about reusable pads for years now but like a lot of my girlfriends, I was convinced that they are not my kind of thing.  When AFRIpads …

Raising Awareness of Menstruation and Sustainability in India

During a visit to Auroville, India a couple of days ago I was happy to have the opportunity to chat briefly with Eco Femme co-founder Kathy Walkling in between customers at their busy stall at the market. I had already heard about Eco Femme before I came to India and I was exited to meet the people behind it in real life. I wanted to get to know more about their important work on raising awareness of menstrual hygiene and sustainability among rural women in the state of Tamil Nadu. Eco Femme was founded in 2010 and in collaboration with the Auroville Village Action Group – an NGO working for womens’ empowerment in rural Tamil Nadu – they started to design and produce eco-friendly, washable cloth pads for sale worldwide. The cloth pads are stitched by women in self-help groups who have been trained in advanced tailoring. The women run their own collective tailoring unit and Eco Femme, whose monthly production order alone provides a full time livelihood to 7 women, is just one of their customers. The cloth pads …

Knowledge and Perception about Family Planning by Women in Uganda

Blog post by Sylvester Nnyombi, Content Guru, Reach A Hand, Uganda Phoebe Nabaweesa* was 22 years when she decided to try a family planning option mid last year. She zeroed in on the injection primarily because she had observed its impact on her best friend for quite some time. Most of which was positive- at least as far as she was concerned. Phoebe’s friend had a good appetite, gained weight and was having sex without getting pregnant. Phoebe went to a clinic in Konge, one of the suburbs of Kampala, with a preset mind to receive the injection. Parting with 4,000UGX (Approx. $1) she received it, and that’s when all hell broke loose. “I had a constant flow of blood from the time I got the injection. It was like having my period every day for three months!” the 23-year old factory worker in Konge narrates. Having seen the blood flow for a month, she returned to the health facility, this time seeking medical attention. The attendants tactfully told her that the body needed time to get …

Involving Men and Boys in Efforts to Achieve a #BetterLife4Girls

One may wonder why men and boys involvement in matters like teenage pregnancies and child marriages is important. Well, it is clearly because behind every teenage pregnancy or child marriage, there is a male involved. In the wake of the movement to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy, young people, parents, religious, cultural  and community leaders have to be called to action. Because these are issues that affect girls directly, it is of peculiar interest how pivotal the male voice has to be to make sure that the plight of a better life for girls is heard. The fight for gender equality remains incomplete without male involvement as we stated earlier this year here on Girls Globe and we won’t repeat the statistics. One part of of our agenda, from our recently concluded community dialogues in the eastern part of Uganda on ending under-age marriages and teenage pregnancies by Reach A Hand, Uganda supported by UNFPA Uganda, was to capture voices of men and boys as a way to continue involving them in anti child marriage and teenage …

Girls Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed at That Time of the Month – Period!

My name is Barbara Namuddu, a peer educator with Reach A Hand, Uganda (RAHU) and I would like to tell you a story. A story that am not afraid to talk about because I am a girl and am proud to say that being a girl is not a punishment. I have been volunteering with RAHU for nine months now under the Peer Educators Academy program where I have had an opportunity to interact with my peers in schools. My interaction is mainly premised on listening to their issues so that I, as a peer educator armed with the right information, can help them overcome their challenges. It’s not a surprise that as a girl, fellow girls always feel open to share problems that they go through with me since they know that I, have also gone through the same. I am sure any girl reading this is nodding her head in agreement. From the peer learning sessions I conduct, I always find out so many terrible tales happening to young girls in school (but …

The Cycle of Life: Meaning of Menstruation for the Future of Girls

This post was originally published on Huffington Post. My periods started when I was around 12. It felt messy, dirty, complicated. I didn’t like it — but, as most of us who are born biologically female, I dealt with it. For me, menstruation was a necessary evil — but nothing I couldn’t handle. It was certainly not something that had the power or potential to entirely alter the course of my life and future. But for millions of girls across the developing countries, the story is very different. For them, the start of menstruation can mean the end of education, and therefore, the end of any real future prospects of economic independence, earning potential and financial security. In most developing countries, girls have little if any access to reliable information and education about their bodies, including menstruation, and many myths and taboos exist around menstruation and its meaning. For example, in India and Nepal, girls and women are often banished outside of their villages and communities during their menstruation because they are seen as “impure” …

Breaking the Taboo: Ending Stigma Around Menstruation

This post was written for Girls’ Globe by Vivian Onano It is very exciting to be speaking this week at the Women Deliver event in Copenhagen. The conference is the place to be for concrete discussion and examination of the rights of women and girls around the world and covers a host of topics from education, health and gender rights, to legal rights, land rights, and FGM. Each topic presents an opportunity for change but, for me, one of this year’s standout issues is getting schools and local governments to consider how girls manage their periods. It can be an uncomfortable subject, but it’s a crucial one for measuring progress in girls’ education and rights. Staggeringly, over 1 billion women and girls do not have access to safe and clean toilets to go to at all, let alone when they’re on their period. This means girls often go into bushes or hidden places when it’s dark to relieve themselves or change their sanitary wear, violating their dignity and privacy and often putting them at risk of …

“Shake S**t Up!”: Kiran Gandhi Talks Stigma

Yesterday morning I stopped by a small shop. I had woken up to my period in the most inconvenient of all it’s forms – the surprise period – so I didn’t have anything in the way of supplies. I picked up a box of tampons, but my heart sank when I saw three men standing behind the counter. I thought maybe I would put the box down. Or maybe I could pick up lots of other things to buy too, as distractions? Or maybe I didn’t even need them, maybe it wasn’t even a proper period? Nope, stomach cramps and inexplicable levels of sweating, definitely for real. Aware of my own absurdity, I told myself I was an idiot and paid, avoiding eye contact with the man behind the desk who picked up the box like you might do an undetonated bomb in your family home. Fast forward a few hours and I sat down to a series of Women Deliver “TED-style” talks. I was excited to see Kiran Gandhi’s name on the list – …

Why we need to talk about periods

“I’m on my period.” Silence. Questioning looks. Did she just say that out loud? “Hey, not everybody has to know, keep that to yourself.” Menstruation is one of the many bodily issues women have to suppress. In order to make both girls and boys feel comfortable about it, we need to talk about the matter.  When I was 10, I remember learning about periods and sexuality in school. Only girls were invited to the lesson. “Girls have their period once a month, it can hurt a little, but is usually manageable and completely normal.” That seemed okay, I thought, wondering why it was only girls bleeding once a month. “Oh and right, the boys won’t learn about this until next year. They aren’t mature enough.” I laughed at this at the time, proud that I was a girl. But now I’m thinking, why do we have to protect boys from their fellow classmates reality? Men are indeed spared from the monthly hell of periods. But still, they cannot escape the bitter reality where all fertile …