Western MEDC access to correct information about sexual health and hygiene from an early age, be it in the house hold, or within the education system, has allowed both young men and women within these educated environments to treat the matter with a standing of everyday normative value. The systematics of sexual health, and access to care and help, has resulted in this topic becoming common information, known and understood by the young and over. Menstrual healthcare products are available in abundance allowing women to carry on with their jobs, normal activities and everyday lives. Unfortunately these basic privileges that we take for granted are not accessible to many girls around the world, whom instead receive taboo-laden, incorrect information about their menstrual cycle and hygiene, which in turn result in illness, infection, detriment to mental health, education and financial circumstances.
Female students in Bolivia often carry used menstrual pads in their backpacks all day due to the fact that they are told that menstrual blood is incredibly dangerous, and can cause diseases like cancer if it’s mixed in with common rubbish. This information alone is unsanitary and imprints onto these young girls the complex that their period could be the cause of external disease, thus instilling a negative view of reproductive health, simultaneously promoting the practice of unhygienic practices that could be detrimental to health.
In many other countries tampons are banned due to the myth that it will cause the hymen to break and rob the wearer of their virginity. In addition to this access to sanitary towels and sexual health education in many countries around the world is limited or virtually unavailable. It is a basic human right that every single girl in the world should have access to sanitary towels and tampons, as well as sexual health education.
There is a lot of global stigmatisation surrounding menstruation and without the appropriate education there are limited resources to defeat ignorance. A lack of menstrual management is one of the main causes of reproductive tract infections in women globally.
A quote from Femme International states in their ‘2014 study in Nairobi’s Mathare Valley slum that over 75% of girls had no idea what menstruation was before they got their first period – causing them to feel scared, confused and embarrassed.’
Donations to various organisations such as Femme International provide Femme Kits to young women all around the world. Just being positive about the concept of periods can help break the stigma. These kits can allow girls to go to school and not have to miss out on an education simply because they are menstruating. It gives them independence and security, as well as showing them that they are important. They deserve to feel clean and safe whilst menstruating. They deserve to feel empowered and strong because a period is a pretty beautiful thing.