Menstruation is still surrounded by silence, myths and taboos. Women and girls worldwide face numerous challenges in managing their period.
Challenges that differ depending on social norms, culture, education and geography.
We believe, it’s important to break the silence and raise awareness of these challenges and support the efforts to destigmatize menstruation and provide those in need with a choice in managing their period – without shame.
Most women in the Western part of the world are lucky enough to receive basic information about menstruation and have access to menstrual products.
However in the last couple of years, it has become apparent that there is also a lack in good quality education and access to menstrual products even in developed countries.
Just last year, it was reported that many girls in the UK routinely missed out on school because they couldn’t afford menstrual products and therefore chose to stay home from school to avoid the embarrassment of possibly leaking because they weren’t adequately protected.
In developing countries a lack of information and access to menstrual products are longstanding issues.
Often because of stigma and taboo, the girls don’t know anything about menstruation when they get their first period, or they depend on limited information from their mothers or friends.
In developing countries, it’s not just the girls’ education that suffers, but also their health and social life.
In many countries, women and girls are restricted in their daily lives during their period.
They can face isolation and are prohibited from using sanitation facilities because they are considered to be dirty or impure due to misconceptions about menstruation that are deeply rooted in cultural, religious, or societal beliefs.
The Challenge – a few facts
- UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls miss school during their period, which eventually leads to a higher school dropout rate.
- 1 out of 4 girls in Tanzania and Ethiopia don’t know about menstruation before their first period.
- 5% of school girls from South Asia had not heard about menstruation prior to their first period and 97.5% did not know that menstrual blood came from the uterus.
- In India, for 1 out of 2 girls, mothers are their most important source of information about menstruation, followed by friends.
For many women and girls in both developing and developed countries menstruation is a life-restricting monthly event that negatively affects daily activities, performance in school and self-esteem. We want to help change this.
That’s why, we have partnered up with a couple of NGOs. They work to empower and educate communities to change the attitude towards menstruation and introduce menstrual cups to those in need as a sustainable way of managing their periods.
WoMena have set up different projects in Uganda. The organisation, together with their partner Marie Stopes Uganda, provide female health professionals with menstrual cup training and sales techniques so they can sell menstrual cups through different sales channels in the West Nile, Gulu, Kabale, Central and Tororo Region for a small profit.
The employment opportunity is a valuable resource that provides the women with entrepreneurial skills which lead to empowerment.
We have also donated cups to WoMena’s pilot project in a refugee camp in Greece where the cups are distributed and the girls and women received education on menstrual health management.