By Kylie Schuyler, Global G.L.O.W. Founder and CEO
May 27, 2018
About half the world’s population gets a period once a month for a few days. Nothing occuring in our species could be more normal, natural, or vital than females menstruating. So if it’s so normal, why do we need to have a Menstrual Awareness Day? The answer is simple, and unfortunate: because for many girls and women around the world, the topic of periods is still very much taboo. Periods are just not something you talk about.
But not talking about periods is dangerous.
Particularly in poor communities and developing nations, period taboos contribute to girls dropping out of school in large numbers. A girl may miss 20% of the school year due to menstruation-related barriers such as lack of sanitary supplies,social stigma, inadequate facilities, and other very real factors. This sets her drastically behind her male peers. In India, alone, 23 million girls – or one in five girls – drops out of school after getting her period each year.
The stigma surrounding periods also contributes to serious health risks. When girls are uncomfortable about their periods, they are more likely to have difficulty communicating with health professionals, and then, with their partners. And, tragically, when girls don’t have proper sanitary supplies, they often are forced to make do with unsanitary alternatives that cause illness and infection.
Talking about periods is vitally important. That’s why I’m joining with millions of other people across the world to support the #PeriodProud and #NoMoreLimits campaigns. At Global Girls Leading Our World (G.L.O.W.), we are passionate about listening to girls, amplifying their voices, mentoring them and providing the tools and skills that equip them to speak out and advocate for what they need in all aspects of their lives. This includes taking on the period taboo. For example, in our HerStory program in Cameroon, the courageous girls participated in a community project where they designed bracelets to help count the days of their menstrual cycles. Girls who know their own cycle and feel confident talking about it are better able to advocate for themselves with health professionals and partners, and, ultimately, are more likely to seek effective family planning methods when the time comes.
Global G.L.O.W. will continue be steadfast in its mission to give girls safe spaces to gather and be heard. We are committed to supporting girls’ rights to be proud of their bodies and to be unafraid to speak about their periods. Won’t you join the movement? Let’s squash this destructive stigma together by speaking up!
The first step? Please like and share this video with your network to spread the word, and sign up for our mailing list on the bottom of this page to become a champion for girls everywhere. When girls are strong, we all benefit!