Women Fighting Period Stigma Around the World
This International Women’s Day, we’re taking It’s a Menstrual Cup global and celebrating three incredible women fighting period stigma around the world.
Radha Paudel – Dignified Menstruation
When Radha Paudel started her period as a girl, she ran away to her sister’s house. Her entire life, she had seen her mother and older sisters kept from the kitchen and temple during their periods because they were seen as being unclean, even cursed. Even at a young age, she knew this was wrong.
Today, Radha is a menstruation activist fighting period stigma across Nepal. Although menstrual isolation or exclusion, the practice of restricting women’s activity and movements during their periods, is illegal, myths and taboos about menstruation are still common. Radha is determined to bring them to an end.
“Menstrual isolation is a human rights violation. It isolates women by barring them from kitchens, water sources, temples, schools, and homes. This means women are treated like second class citizens, or not even human.”
The Radha Paudel Foundation, is working with Liverpool John Moores University to explore the origins, diversity, and impact of menstrual exclusion across Nepal to find the most effective ways of challenging and ending menstrual stigma.
Fighting these stigmas can be a lonely venture. It can often mean challenging the beliefs and actions of an entire community- something few people are willing to do.
Despite the criticism and negativity she receives, Radha is undaunted and continues to devote her life to fighting this drastic form of period stigma. When asked how she keeps at it, she says “it’s easy to keep going when it’s something you believe in.”
We stand with you Radha!
For more information, visit https://www.radhapaudelfoundation.org/
Lucy Nkhoma - Malawi Girl Guides
Growing up in Malawi, Lucy saw the impact that period stigma and lack of access to menstrual products could have on the girls all around her. Unable to access products, many girls miss school. Seeing this, Lucy decided she would act. “I wanted to help by breaking the menstrual taboos and myths which shame girls all over the world.”
Committed to this goal, Lucy joined the Malawi Girl Guides, which provides non-formal education to help increase girls’ confidence. Holding training sessions with women and girls across Malawi, Lucy is now spreading awareness about menstrual health and the menstrual cup.
But the silence and shame surrounding periods is the first thing Lucy tackles in her training. To get the conversation flowing Lucy asks everyone to reflect on their first period - when they got it, who they told, and how they felt. “I’ve heard insights like ‘when I first had my period, I thought I was dying.’...All these experiences occur as they did not know what periods were and were not prepared in advance.”
Lucy knew from a young age that she wanted to bring an end to period stigma, and every day, she is working to do just that. We salute you Lucy!
Celia Hodson – Hey Girl
After a successful career working in social enterprises, Celia Hodson was ready to retire. That is until she talked with her daughter about period poverty in the UK.
Instead of rolling back her work load, Celia, with her daughters, stepped it up by starting Hey Girls, a Buy One Give One social enterprise which is determined to put an end to Period Poverty in the UK. “Our girls are missing out on education and skipping games because they’re unable to access sanitary products when they need them” says Celia.
Just one year old, Hey Girls has had an incredible first year, donating more than 2.3 million menstrual products to over 200 communities throughout the UK. At the heart of Hey Girls lies Celia’s passion and personal experience: “Having been a single parent I understand first-hand the financial strain of buying sanitary protection when struggling to survive on benefits. The situation for women just like me hasn’t changed in twenty years – as many as one in four women in the UK have experienced period poverty.”
Tackling period poverty isn't enough for Celia. Hey Girls’ new education programme is getting us talking about out periods and pushing us to tackle the stigma around the topic. About bloody time if you ask us...
For more information, visit www.heygirls.co.uk.
Hey Girls has just release their new line of menstrual cups! Hey Girls cups are not only medical grade silicone, latex and BPA free, and hypoallergenic, they are socially conscious. For every cup you buy we donate one to someone that needs it in the UK to end period poverty. https://www.heygirls.co.uk/shop/
Did you know menstrual cups are changing lives for women in developing countries. Long-lasting and easy to take care of means whether you're living in Central London or a refugee camp, menstrual cups can work for you.
Learn more at https://www.itsamenstrualcup.com/impact