Today is International Women’s Day and while I recognize that it is wonderful and necessary to allocate a specific day to recognize the contributions and tribulations of women all over the world, I honestly feel like every day is women’s day. I suppose this mostly stems from the fact that my invention, business and day-to-day existence revolves around empowering women across the globe.
Ever since I committed myself and livelihood to this enterprise of providing young women with information about all the phases of the menstrual cycle, I have been cognizant that this applies to ALL women across this lovely planet we call home. Menstrucation (a new word coined to combine menstruation and education) is a global issue and many people wrongly assume that women in the developed world are well-informed. Unfortunately, that is a gross overstatement and to perpetuate it does everyone a disservice. While it is true that some women, regardless of where they are located, possess detailed knowledge, that is often the exception and not the norm. These educated girls were exceptionally lucky because they spent time with a caring and forthright teacher, parent, sibling, friend, mentor or relation who recognized the importance of explaining the cycle in correct and factual detail. In my experience, most people are uncomfortable discussing periods and thus they rush the lesson(s) or joke around during it. In a perfect world, all girls would enjoy a thorough education regarding their amazing bodies and would receive this in a setting that is conducive to discussion and not embarrassment. We all know that the world is not perfect and so my mission is ongoing.
Today it came to my attention that the marvellous Annie Lennox has launched a #GlobalFeminism initiative and I am fully onboard with this as menstrucation is a global issue. Check out the recently released video highlighting the need for this campaign.
There are thousands of events happening in my city and around the world today to celebrate International Women’s Day. Regrettably I am under the weather and staying home but I wonder, are you doing anything special today in honour of International Women’s Day?
Today is the 5th annual Menstrual Hygiene Day! Whoop whoop!!
It's a pretty great time to be a woman in the world but there is still a LOT of work to be done.
In regards to menstruation, while I am incredibly proud that my homeland, Canada, has done away with the so-called "tampon tax", the majority of countries around the globe still charge a tax on feminine hygiene products calling them a "luxury".
The very real fact is that every woman between the ages of 12 and 52, or thereabouts, needs products once a month to help manage their monthly bleed. Unfortunately, many women in poor countries cannot afford such necessities (are they therefore a luxury?) and their whole lives can be impacted negatively due to this simple fact. They may opt out of school to save themselves, and by proxy their families, embarrassment should whatever inadequate means they are using leak and their blood is exposed to the general public.
Also, all too frequently, poor women in some of the poorest nations uses dirty clothes and even mud and leaves to staunch their monthly flow. This is bad for their health for a multitude of reasons, least of which is the lack of sanitation.
Likewise, many women in developing countries do not have daily access to clean water so how can they possibly clean themselves in dirty water?
As we are seeing is many other aspects of this wonderful world, women are coming together and forming movements to spur change...think of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement. There is also the #smashtheshame movement which wants menstruation to be a topic that everyone, male or female, can discuss openly without feeling ashamed or told to be quiet. It is unfortunate but many cultures consider menstruation a taboo topic and openly shun women who are menstruating from their homes, schools and religious institutions on the basis that while bleeding they are unclean. It is only through open communication can we learn and teach and grow and change the uneducated minds that make the rules.
Many young women do not learn the basic fundamentals of their monthly periods, and more than we can to know are completely surprised by their first period. These women may have little idea how their monthly cycles affects and can be affected by their general health and fertility. Obviously this is important information that every girl should know. Personally of course, I think each girl on the planet should be given a Female Empowerment Bracelet upon her first period, otherwise known as menarche. Then for the next 4o years or so, until the menopause, she will have an understanding of the subtle but significant changes occurring within her body and what they mean and act according to her own desires.
This #MHDay won't you join me and spread the word? If you think every girl should have access to education and products for their periods, please be brave and put something on social media about it or simply talk in person with a group or even just one young woman - chances are the conversation will be more welcome and informative than you could even imagine. I have found myself in many discussions with young women just starting their menstrual journey and I am constantly amazed at the seemingly never-ending supply of questions. For many girls, you may be the safest source of information.
If you would like more information regarding #MHDay please visit their website at www.menstrualhygieneday.org
Also, I am hosting a giveaway with an empowering prize pack. Head on over to giveaway to enter.