GRATITUDE FOR GOOD
A Blog by Gratitude Alliance
By Rachel Crowther
As updating and posting to social media is my main job for GGA, I spend part of each morning, cup of strong coffee at grabbing distance, surfing news sites. It's entertaining, heart-wrenching and educational. But some articles make a lasting impression. A couple of months ago I came across a photo-essay. It showed how some Nepali women practice the chaupadi tradition, sleeping in sheds isolated from their communities while they menstruate. I'd never considered that periods were anything other than a sometimes inconvenient but integral part of being female. That in some places and cultures, periods are shameful and taboo. That they represent a huge barrier to education for large numbers of girls who don't have access to sanitary conditions at school or any means of dealing with their menstrual flow. That it's an equality issue.
Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day. I love that the date has been chosen for its significance - 'May is the 5th month of the year, representing 5 days, or the average number of days (between 2-7) a woman or girl spends menstruating each month. And, 28 represents the average number of days in a menstrual cycle.' And that it is drawing attention to a problem that's been hidden, thanks in part to our own embarrassment about discussing normal bodily functions. It's important that we do talk about periods. As Menstrual Hygiene Day org.'s fact sheets state, menstrual hygiene is fundamental to:
Things will only change if we talk about periods for what they are, a part of life for 49.7% of the world's population, 5 days per month for 40 years during their lifetime. Without shame. And make them easy to deal with. As with many issues, education for all is key. Education gives access to knowledge and skills and breaks down myths and taboos. It's time for a change. Period.