Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019
Getting your period is just one of those things. To me, if I’m honest, it’s like getting home to a full dishwasher and a sink full of dirty dishes. It’s a chore, an annoyance, a pain but that’s only because I’m equipped with everything I could possibly need to manage it. I schedule it, taking a little red pill and telling my body, okay, whenever you’re ready. I open a draw of pads and tampons, in every shape and size and select the one purposed for day one. I open the microwave and pull out a hot pack that is ready to soothe my body and whisper sweet nothings to my poor uterus. I take a blue pill that helps with the pain, I drink a tea that helps me relax and most importantly I order a pepperoni pizza and shove my face into it, because that’s truly how I absorb joy.
But that’s getting your period in Sydney Australia, where solutions are abundant and (generally) menstruation is recognised as challenging.
That is not the case in most of the world.
In many countries, getting your period for the first time is a sign of womanhood, which comes with all sorts of fast-tracked responsibilities. Marriage, children, all those things that to me seem like a job for your mid 30’s, are suddenly on the cards.
But what about school, right? I mean, say you get your period when you’re 14, you can’t be a mother, you’ve still got four years of school left. Well, there’s not much point in school if you’re missing a quarter of the year anyway and that’s what’s happening to girls without access to sanitary products. They sit at home and they do their best to stay “clean” until the bleeding stops, and they are free to return to the education they deserve.
It’s unbelievable to think that just because these girls don’t have a draw in the bathroom, full of sanitary products like I’m lucky enough to, that they could be forced to give up their education and become a child bride or young mother. It’s unbelievable but it is reality and it’s common.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day, the theme is “It’s Time to Take Action” and I couldn’t agree more. Especially when action is so simple and so important. Not only are sanitary products affordable but there are awesome products like menstrual cups, that are reusable! For $7 you can literally give the gift of safe sanitary care to a girl for up to 10 years. One cup lasts for the entirety of high school, meaning girls can complete their schooling without being impacted by the financial burden of menstruation. Not to mention, instead of the 15,000 pads a woman uses in her lifetime, women only need 5 cups to do the same job. That’s a reduction in waste in more ways than one.
So, this Menstrual Hygiene Day, reflect on your routine. Getting your period is inconvenient but should it be a barrier to education, involvement and equality? Don’t even answer that, we are all in agreement, it’s a hard no.
Want to do something about it? No need to answer that either, the answer’s, absolutely!
Donate to The Cova Project. Give as little as $7 and know that a young woman’s future improves significantly because of that donation.
It starts with menstruation; we decide where it ends.