Periods. I can’t say I have ever met someone who enjoys having their monthly period, yet unfortunately, this is something that most women will have to deal with for a good 30-40 years of their life. If you start your period at age 12 and stop menstruating at age 50, then you have the potential to have 486 periods in your lifetime. As someone who has monthly periods, the thought of having to deal with that many periods in my life is quite a prospect.
For most women, periods will come and go without disrupting their day to day lives. For some women, the only consideration they have to make is whether or not to risk wearing white trousers during their period.
However, this is not the case for a lot of women and young girls. Approximately 500 million women and girls are living in period poverty each month. Due to financial restraints, women are lacking the essential tools for managing their menstruation, including adequate sanitary wear and hand washing facilities. This is a global issue.
In the European Union, sanitary products are taxed as ‘luxury’ items. I find it hard to believe that Governments are allowing this, making women pay more for something that they have no control over. Women don’t choose to have periods and yet are still being forced to pay a 5% ‘tampon tax’ on these ‘luxury’ items.
The reality of this, is that many women and young girls around the world cannot afford to buy sanitary products. Many women are either having to improvise and create their own sanitary products, or simply go without. Neither of these should have to be an option. These are ineffective, unsafe and unhygienic options. Women and young girls shouldn’t have to put their health at risk just to get through their monthly period.
However, this isn’t just a hygiene issue. There is a huge stigma surrounding periods and menstruation in some parts of the world, causing young girls to miss out on educational opportunities. It is estimated that one in ten girls in Africa will miss school when they have their period. Missing days at school is detrimental to their education and in some cases, can lead to girls dropping out of school altogether.
This is where CiCA UK steps in. We want to ensure that young girls attend school as much, and as often as their male counterparts, ensuring that they can receive every educational opportunity. We need to open up conversations about periods, removing the stigma that surrounds them. In some communities, there are taboos surrounding periods, meaning that sometimes, girls may have never heard of menstruation before their first period. We want to remove this stigma and make periods a less traumatic experience.
We have already run women empowerment sessions where we have openly spoken about periods, helping to normalise them to young girls who feel confused by them. We believe that education is very important, and periods should not be a reason for missing school. During these sessions, we also hand out packs of reusable sanitary wear. These packs can last a woman for two years. This means that, women can grasp every educational opportunity, helping them to secure a better future for themselves and their families.
This is where we need your help. Just £7 will ensure that a young girl has access to sanitary products for the next two years. We need you to help us in our fight for equality.
Text IWDFREE to 70085 to donate £7 per month – texts cost £7 plus 2 standard rate messages.
Text IWDFREE to 70450 to make a one-off £7 donation – texts cost £7 plus 1 standard rate message.
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For gifts for projects other than the general fund CiCA UK will deduct 10% to cover core costs and to invest in areas of greatest need.