The #freeperiods Campaign
When it comes to that time of month, many of us don’t like to talk about it. Just the thought of our period (yes, I said it) fills us with dread. For the unlucky among us it causes excruciatingly painful cramps, for others it causes us to run to the loo way more than we would ever like to admit, either way it’s an uncomfortable time for any woman where we never quite feel ourselves and absolutely can’t wait to get over.
The availability of feminine hygiene products is never a thought that crosses my mind which is where the #freeperiods campaign comes in.
Many of you may have seen this pop up on social media recently as many female empowerment platforms like GURLS TALK and LAPP have been quick to show their support but still may not know the ins and outs of what the campaign entails, especially because many of us shy away from talking about our lady parts and all her functions.
The campaign headed by school girl Amika George gained momentum this year after a school in Leeds approached a UK charity Freedom4Girls, which provides menstrual products to women and girls in Kenya, after observing that a number of girls were recurrently absent from school every month for the simple reason they cannot afford menstual products. Many of these girls, as young as 11 years old, resort to using socks or taping tissue to their underwear to avoid facing the so called 'period taboo' in which many young girls and women feel uncomfortable talking about their struggles.
For an issue that relates to women all over the world I'm sure that for many of us, myself included, that the availability of feminine hygiene products is something we take for granted and it's hard not to! Walk into any supermarket and you are instantly bombarded with what seems like infinite range of options, from Bodyform to Tampax to Always to Lil-lets 0 the list is pretty endless. Whilst this is great to the extent that it means that there is an option suited for almost everyone's preference it also means that we do take for granted the availability and range of products provided to us.
If anything we are trying to come up with ways to reduce the number of feminine hygiene products on our shelves with more sustainable alternatives like the Diva Cup in an effort to cut down on waste and energy consumption associated with product manufacturing.
The #freeperiod campaign has definitely opened my eyes, and hopefully the eyes of the others, to the issues that others may face when it comes to providing for their basic personal care, something that on a day to day basis we take for granted. Whilst, menstrual products may still be a topic that we shy away from it is important that this issue has been brought to light and we should do whatever is in our power to help the cause.
As women and girls we tend to feel a bit ashamed when talking so openly about our feminine bodily functions, which when you think about it is absurd because EVERY woman at some point in her life has had a period no matter their background, ethnicity, religion or beliefs. The natural biology of our bodies is the one thing that unites us as women and so rather than shying away from it (after all no one exactly wants to make period talk dinner table conversation), we need to learn to embrace it and be comfortable with talking about these sensitive issues.
We underestimate the degree to which a few minutes of awkward or even uncomfortable conversation for you could led to a young girl avoiding a time of constant discomfort every month.
I've included the link for the #freeperiod petition below where you can sign to show your support for this growing cause, even if you don't feel comfortable signing I really hope that this post has helped raise awareness for the issue and made us a bit more open when talking about challenges that women and young girls in society face.
We are making a difference and it is important that your voice is heard.