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  • Writer's pictureModupe O. Oreye

Let's Talk About Period Poverty: Why We Need Menstrual Health Education

Updated: May 17, 2023

We all know that some things are sui generis to each gender hence why biologically, females get pregnant while males cannot. So also, most times, when we hear the word "period" or "period poverty", we subconsciously associate it with the female gender neglecting the fact that everyone has a role to play - male or female alike.


All over the world, every 5 out of 10 females experience period poverty. More so, 10 out of 15 females avoid going outside because of period poverty. While some prefer to just bleed indoors than go out with sanitary towels, others don't go out because they actually do not have sanitary products to prevent them from bleeding. They make use of primitive resources like their old socks, tissue paper, rags, and newspapers even. These primitive methods of menstrual hygiene can cause several infections in their bodies and affect their reproductive health in the long run.


What is Period Poverty?

Period poverty, far from its surface meaning, simply means a lack of access to sanitary facilities, menstrual products, and even the right hygiene products needed. It is when a female does not have access to sanitary towels, good menstrual hygiene, proper and quality menstrual eradication, and sanitation.


In some parts of the world, menstruation is seen as taboo thereby causing some form of stigma and leading to a self-esteem decline in women. It is therefore important to preach the gospel of Menstrual Health Education firstly to remove the bias of seeing "women bleed" as a taboo and also to provide young girls and females with the necessary knowledge they need to have about their periods.


In recent times, the legislative arm of Kenya asked one of their parliamentarians in the person of Senator Gloria Orwoba to leave the Kenyan Parliament, over a menstrual stain. You see, the thing about periods is, it comes unexpectedly. And on such occasions, women experience a portion of period poverty, directly or indirectly, and are often discriminated against because of this natural occurrence.


What is Menstrual Health Education?

Menstrual Health Education involves enlightening women and girls about their menstrual health, how to track their menstrual cycle, and providing them with sanitary products and the necessary facilities to understand and manage their menstruation.


But it does not involve women and girls alone, it includes men and boys as well. Most times, we see men and boys acting indifferent when menstruation and period poverty is being talked about. A male who is enlightened with proper knowledge of these things won't in any way find it awkward but rather would be able to sensitize others and help out with measures to curb period poverty too.


Proper awareness should be created about the need to manage or even eradicate period poverty all around the world. Women and girls should also be given access to sustainable eco-friendly period products. Lawmakers should make legislations that correct the stigma surrounding menstruation. Further, the government should ensure that quality sanitary products are made available if not free, at cheap and affordable prices, at least.


But beyond this, including menstrual health education in school curriculums and engaging young children, both boys and girls alike, about menstruation and periods is necessary if we want to take the next steps towards ending period poverty and the topic of menstruation as taboo. Educating young girls and women on menstruation and periods will also promote positive hygiene habits which lower the risk of health issues, stigmatization, and shame.


If all hands can be on deck there is much gain-saying that period stigma can end and in turn, period poverty will be eradicated in all forms and at all levels, directly and indirectly.

DO MORE

  1. Become an ambassador or a change maker to not just challenge but to correct the bias and status quo surrounding period poverty.

  2. Join organizations especially non-profit organizations in going for outreaches to sensitize others on the need to take that one step in eradicating period poverty, one female and one community at a time.

  3. Donate to projects that serve to end period poverty like the Pad a Girl movement

  4. Submit your Period Diary to Sisterly HQ

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WRITTEN BY Modupe O. Oreye.


Modupe O. Oreye is a bright and young law undergraduate presently pursuing her degree at the University of Benin, Nigeria. She is a change strategist and growth personnel with a committed passion for personal and career development, and student leadership in social and environmental spheres. Modupe is passionate about advocating for quality education, and human rights and taking social actions to advance these causes. She is a writer, a Linkedin optimisation person and a corporate compere as she is skilled in moderating social and online events.


Want to connect with Modupe?

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram or connect with her on Linkedin!


EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.


'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed, bibliophile and lawyer passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities.


Want to connect with Zulu?

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or connect with her on Linkedin!


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