World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 – Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030
I have always been vocal with my advocacy even from childhood. This is partly because of my lived experiences. One time, I accompanied my cousin to their school debate. When we got there, I cheered the loudest. Both teams were marshaling out their points fiercely. I was enjoying the show. I had such a great time listening to the teams that I even wished I got popcorn on my way there. I made a mental note to grab some whenever they had contests or competitions.
Their debate was on the technology and its place in secondary child education. So far, the opposing team was leading. They had done their homework well and were giving the proposing team beta gbas gbos (a tough time).
Halfway through the debate, the lead speaker for the other team swirled to prove a point. Instead of applause, there was a deafening silence that swept across the room. It was so weird. Finally, one person “You’re bleeding!” someone in the audience scoffed. Most people laughed at that.
The girl just walked away.
Meanwhile, the school authorities would not have this messy attitude. They created an interlude and educated the public on what menstruation is and why it’s necessary to show supper to ladies who are currently on their period. When the principal began sharing, everybody was tense and upset. But when she explained further, everyone was empowered and promised to do better.
Menstruation happens naturally to most healthy young girls and women around the world. It is a major part of the female biology. Menstruation occurs monthly for about 2 to 7 days. It is crucial for reproduction as the menstrual cycle is designed to prepare the female body for pregnancy.
According to UNICEF, about half of the female population (in the world) is of reproductive age. This means most of the women you know menstruate. Sadly, in many places places and cultures, it’s still a hushed subject. Women are stigmatized and treated differently for menstruating. It’s almost as though they’re plagued in the eyes of people. Hence why it is important to talk about it.
The discrimination happens in some cases, subtly, like many of us have witnessed. While in some crazy cultures, women and men, boys and girls are not even allowed to speak of learn about it. Imagine the horror of being in dark of an essential part of the cycle of life. Of something that happens to you as a young girl or full-grown woman. Imagine not being able to understand why your mum who is usually full of life and vitality is weak at a certain time of the month.
Yet, this is happening in certain places. But it has to stop. That’s why we can’t stand by and silently watch gender inequality and toxic traditions foster stigmatization against menstruation. To do this is to fail the world around us.
Here’s what this discrimination has done so far:
Thanks to our negative view, many girls and women are ashamed of periods. This negatively impacts the quality of their lives as they can’t openly speak about their periods – if they’re too uncomfortable or experiencing certain complications that require medical attention.
This evil doesn’t end here. It denies girls and women access to quality sanitary materials they need. Because they feel unclean and unworthy, they don’t speak up when they need pads and tampons. Instead, they find a way to sort themselves out with unsanitary methods like tissue, cloth and so on. These methods breed germs and expose them to diseases that can negatively affect their reproductive system and overall health.
But we can end this – starting now. By making menstruation a normal fact of life. Instead of acting like girls and women are the filth of the earth when they menstruate, we should be compassionate. We should realize that this is a necessary part of every girl’s life as it prepares the body for the next phase of the menstrual cycle. Put simply, girls and women shouldn’t have to face discrimination from the incredible process that guarantees continuity on the earth. It’s not okay that we make some girls and women feel like they’ve done wrong because they’re menstruating.
This is 2023 – the age of Artificial intelligence. It’s a shame that we still have to talk about this like we’re in the stone age. Yet, like a broken record never tired or repeating its message, I add my voice to the rest of the advocates in the world and say: Let’s make menstruation normal. Let’s talk about it like we talk about every other aspect of life, growth and metabolism.
The only way to achieve this successfully is to change our view of it. Then, we’ll stop acting like it’s a taboo and talk about it in our schools, offices, markets and even religious institutions. Let’s correct wrong mindsets. Let’s talk about it boldly and loudly. Menstruation is not a crime. Our sisters, daughters, friends, wives and mothers are not evil doers because their biology is wired to bleed monthly. It’s just part of life and we need to normalize it. We need to do this together. So, I’m encouraging you today to join us in our quest to making menstruation normal by 2030.
Happy World Menstrual Hygiene Day.