27 May It’s Time For Action on Menstrual Health
The Cup Effect is a UK-based charity on a mission to make period poverty history through the power of menstrual cups. For each cup purchased from them, two are given to women and girls facing period poverty across East Africa and the UK.
Today, The Cup Effect’s Head of Marketing Pip Christie explains why now is the time to take action on menstrual health, just in time for Menstrual Hygiene Day.
(This is a guest post as part of our brand sponsorship programme – where we invite brands who align to our values to join us on the blog, Instagram Stories and the Monday night #EthicalHour Twitter chat. If you’d like to know more and get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Which means that women have been having periods for hundred of thousands of years, yet they’re still considered to be a big red taboo.
Right now, around 800 million women and girls are on their period. And a large proportion of those women are living in period poverty.
Slowly, the world is waking up to the fact that this isn’t just an issue facing ‘other people’.
Period poverty is right here at home in the UK too.
27% of women and girls have been forced to miss either work or school at some point in their lives, simply because they weren’t able to access the menstrual products they so desperately needed.
Yet, we’re still trying to hide it.
We smuggle tampons up our sleeves as we scuttle off to the bathrooms at work, heaven forbid that someone realise we’re a woman with a period.
We make up friendly names ‘Aunt Flow’, ‘Code Red’, anything to hide the fact that we’re bleeding.
Our periods are a natural fact of life, yet the shame that society places upon us to hide that they occur is creating more and more problems for us each and every day.
Enough is enough. Finally, it’s time for action.
28th May is Menstrual Hygiene Day. A day when communities across the world come together to speak up and advocate for equal access to menstrual health.
We firmly believe that no woman or girl should ever have to face the challenge of not having access to menstrual products.
It’s time for us to come together, as a global community, and support our women and girls in the way that they deserve.
It’s time to put an end to period poverty once and for all. And that means that now it the time to take action.
It’s Time For Action For Individuals
There is so much that each and every one of us can do this Menstrual Hygiene Day to advocate for ourselves, and the women around us. No matter what gender you identify as, there is space for you to act.
Speak up about periods, tell your story.
Speak to your friends, your family, your colleagues, even your local MP and ask them about their first period. Is it a story of shame? Break that down and explore why we still face that big red taboo.
Explore how you can change that, and what you can do to ensure that no girl has to face that shame again.
Let’s make periods a normal part of our conversation.
If you’re feeling tired or run down and it’s because you’re bleeding, say so. Let’s stop making up excuses and feigning ‘colds’ and ‘not enough sleep’ simply because we don’t want to admit the truth.
If you have a period yourself, take a look at what menstrual products you’re using. Could it be time to opt for something more sustainable?
Shockingly, a woman will typically dispose of 12,000 pads and tampons over the course of her lifetime. That’s approximately 150 kilos of waste, or enough to fill two minibuses.
Over the last few years we’ve seen a rise in sustainable period products as we seek to reduce our environmental footprint.
Organic menstrual products, reusable pads, period pants and menstrual cups are becoming readily available. Why not make this Menstrual Hygiene Day the day that you give one a go?
It’s Time For Action For Corporations
Whether you’re a corporate decision-maker or an employee, you have the power to influence how your organisation chooses to enact change, and menstrual health is a huge part of that.
A good proportion of your team is (or should be) women. Which means a good proportion of your team is going to have a period, each and every month.
So doesn’t it make sense to build a welcoming and inclusive environment for them?
Even a simple change, such as offering organic tampons and pads in employee bathrooms, can be a great start towards paving the path to an open and female-friendly workplace. But there’s still more you can do. Plenty more.
We need to create corporate environments where periods are no longer a silent subject. Environments were employees feel empowered to open up and talk about their health.
Many charities and nonprofits, including The Cup Effect, are starting to offer corporate training as a way of starting new conversations around menstrual health.
This is the perfect opportunity to get your employees, of all genders, talking about how they can take their own action in a supportive and safe environment.
If financial giving seems more up your street, there are countless ways to get involved!
This could be through corporate giving, or even getting your team together to complete in a corporate fundraising challenge. Of course, we’d love it if you chose to support The Cup Effect and our mission to end period poverty through the power of menstrual cups!
But whoever you choose to support this Menstrual Hygiene Day, do so safe in the knowledge that each penny you give is going towards helping women and girls live life as they should be – empowered and in control of their own health.
It’s Time For Action For Politicians
Menstrual health needs to be a part of every single party’s political agenda. Period.
Just like the economy, climate change and the NHS, menstrual health affects us all.
It affects our health, gender equality, productivity in the workplace, education, agency and so much more. No, it’s not a simple issue but that doesn’t mean it’s one that we should shy away from. Menstrual health is intrinsically linked to nearly everything we do.
It’s time for us to act, for politicians to act, and put a system in place that provides the right support for women and girls across the UK.
We need to break down the period taboo.
Menstrual health needs to form an essential part of the curriculum at all schools, for all genders. The way that we’re currently teaching our young people about menstrual health is not sufficient. We’re failing our children.
We need to empower our girls and young women to make informed and educated decisions about menstrual health.
They must be able to properly evaluate the options they have before them and make a decision about their menstrual products that works for them and their bodies.
To do so, they must have access to the right information and this means that our education system needs to change.
We need to say goodbye to the tampon tax and bid farewell to an outdated opinion that menstrual products are ‘luxuries’.
We need to see a world where period poverty no longer exists, where girls who are on free school meals have access to menstrual products without shame or stigma.
We need our government to invest in programmes that will give back to the women and girls who cannot afford menstrual products.
We need our government to let them know that they are not forgotten, that they should not feel ashamed, and that they are just as worth as anyone else.
We need change. Now is the time for all of us to take action, together.
Looking to get a menstrual cup of your own? For each menstrual cup purchased from The Cup Effect, three are given to women and girls facing period poverty during the month of May. Get 10% off yours with code ‘MENSTRUAL10’, valid until 31st May.