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This is a pivotal day which brings together not for profits, organisations and companies such as Modibodi, government agencies and the media to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management on a global scale. It raises awareness of the challenges faced by girls and women all over the globe in gaining access to products and information about menstruation which can benefit their health and wellbeing.
We believe that there are practical solutions to these challenges, which rely on the coming together of people who are willing to share information and resources.
MH Day last year was the biggest event day so far with more than 180 events in 34 countries., and we cant wait to ensure that 2017 is just as big, if not bigger.
We've previously written blogs on the detrimental impact that a lack of education around menstruation can have on young girls in the developing world. To demonstrate just how important education is - check out the infographic from the MH website below.
We sat down with two prominent, very inspirational women in the menstruation education sector. Charlotte Young is a menstrual health education from Melbourne who runs Celebration Days for Girls - small workshops which teach girls vital skills and information on womanhood and menstruation. Our second inspirational lady is Adriana - the founder of 'The Good Cycle' which is another platform of menstrual education for girls, women, boys, men and schools.
As a menstrual educator, I know how entrenched the taboos and attitudes are around menstruation, even here in Australia. So, to tackle this challenge head-on, to break the silence and build awareness on a global level blows my mind. The other thing that blows my mind is how far there is still to go.
"Dr Chritiane Northrup's books are a huge inspiration for me, as I meet a lot of resistance along the way, regarding preparing girls for their menstruation and women for their menopause. I often read this quote of hers for inspiration; "If you want to know where your power really is, you need look no further than the processes of your body that you've been taught to dismiss, and deny, or be afraid of. These include the menstrual cycle, labour and the mother of all wake up calls, perimenopause". Having also worked as a doula/birth attendant, I have witnessed how true these words are for each one of these fundamental processes. I sincerely hope that one day, all girls and women across the globe have complete sovereignty over their own bodies. On the most basic of levels, this starts with good menstrual hygiene management which is why I applaud the work of MHD."
"Education on Menstruation Changes Everything: I absolutely love the theme chosen for this year’s MHD because I couldn’t agree with it more . The way I see it the stigma around the menstrual cycle happens in different levels. The more tangible way we see it at play is in Developing Countries where girls are impacted in a very concrete way by their periods. Examples of that can be seen in many African Countries where girls end up not finishing school due to menstrual shame. This is a very important issue and I feel that there are many amazing projects happening to try to revert this situation and education plays a key part in most of these projects.
The Good Cycle also uses education as a key component, however we focus more on the “hidden” aspects of menstrual shame and challenge some of the current world views (specially in the Developed World) that value one aspect of the feminine over another. We do that by educating or, better saying, reminding people that starting at around the age of 12 and ending at around 50 the nature of women is cyclical. The fact that women are cyclical and not linear beings is completely overseen by all of our systems and the relationships that we - as women - have developed with the world around us have been based on a misleading idea that women are linear. Which - of course - we are not.
What does that even mean?
I love the metaphor that explains culture as the water where fish swim in. To the fish there is no water. He can’t see the water because he is immersed in it. To be able to see the water, the fish would need to leave the fish bowl and feel what it feels like NOT to be in water. Our culture works in similar ways. We are all swimming in a culture that has been designed to suit men (and not very well, I have to add). Our culture, and by that I’m referring to the educational, medical and political systems and also our media, the films we watch, etc…expects women to be “the same woman” the entire month. Which we are not. At the same time, because we are swimming in the water of our culture we don’t even notice that what has been demanded of us is unrealistic. The result of that is that we have been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole for generations.
The Good Cycle understands the importance of educating women and girls about our cyclical nature and what that means (and that is why we hold workshops) but we also see the importance of branching out and talking to businesses, to advertising agencies, to magazines, to schools, doctors, politicians, etc. We know that to create a world that embraces the cyclical nature of women as a reality we need to have more people on board and that is why we give free talks that will inspire people to notice the culture we have been “swimming” in.
In practical terms we feel that yes educating women so that they know in an embodied way that there is actually nothing wrong or shameful about the menstrual cycle is vital. That is the first step. However it doesn’t stop there. Once women are fully embracing their cycles and their cyclical nature then we would still need to create a world that sees that as a valid way of being. Menstruating women, for example, have a very different outlook in the world then an ovulating woman. This needs to be accounted for. When she is menstruating she will be better at certain tasks and worse at others. The same when she is ovulating. Knowing that will allow businesses, schools and the world in general to leverage on the gifts that women bring instead of hoping that she would “just behave more like a man”.
My long term vision is to contribute to the creation of a world that sees and embraces the different gifts that men and women bring. The hard part with working with this “hidden” shame is that it has been hidden for so long that many of us women can’t even recognise it for what it is. So sometimes a big part of my work is to show women that to be embarrassed of her period, or a bit disgusted or even to "just not care" is a sign of shame. It is also very beautiful to witness when the penny drops and women realise that they actually have had some shame their whole lives but just hadn’t called it shame because is was “normal”. This is the first step towards change.
For the MHD talk I’m hoping to inspire people to have a look outside of the fish bowl. In my experience this is usually all it takes for people to be inspired to change something in their immediate surroundings to embrace their own nature or the nature of the women they love. I also love including men in the conversation because we are all in this together. When men embrace women - and the menstrual cycle is a crucial part of a woman’s nature - then women also embrace men more fully. It is a dance of two. "
We are so honoured to have heard from two very positive, driven women making a difference and championing for menstrual education.
Modibodi will always be committed to partnering with like-minded organisations and brands who appreciate the importance of educating girls worldwide about menstruation and providing safe, sustainable alternatives to feminine hygiene.
If you'd like to learn more about Menstrual Hygiene Day or see if theres any events near you to get involved with, then check out their website here!
If you'd like to make a difference in the lives of homeless women in Australia - then purchase a Share The Dignity Voucher from our website here. [embed_popupally_pro popup_id="11"]