Do you take good menstrual hygiene for granted?

IMG_5958Lots of great articles have been published for Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May) to raise awareness of the challenges faced by many women in managing their periods around the world.

I was particularly impressed by a story reported by Kimberly Gillan. Would you be  prepared to ‘walk in the shoes’ of the women you want to help?

“For the past two Septembers, Campbell has spent her period without the use of pads, tampons or menstrual cups, instead using newspaper, rags, sponges, leaves and bark – just like millions of girls in developing nations.

“I was so uncomfortable,” says Campbell who used the experience to raise money for Sierra Leone girl-focused project Do It In A Dress.

“The first time I used a new sponge it stung because it was full of chemicals. The next time I rinsed it out but it dried hard and was like a brick of sandpaper sitting in my underwear grinding my butt cheeks.”

As for the leaves, she says they were useless and using rags made her hot and sweaty. Campbell says she opted out of socialising and her work productivity dropped significantly.”

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is only a problem in developing countries. For example, how would you cope with a visit from Aunt Flo if you were homeless?

“In October, a West Australian woman was fined $500 by police for stealing a $6.45 packet of tampons from a service station. It’s an incident that highlights that choosing between food and sanitary items is a dire reality for women doing it tough. And one that charities like Share the Dignity are helping to address.”

And raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to conceal a pad or tampon at home, school, work or in a public place?

“…while managing “that time of the month” hygienically may not be an issue for the majority of Australian women, managing the embarrassment is.”

If you found this post a bit heavy, Jane Austen fans may find some light relief in WaterAid’s ‘period’ drama clips:

You can also check out India-based Menstrupedia’s blog or Facebook site. They’ve set up a Period Positive Poster Collective ( and are offering the digital version of their educational comic book for free until 31 May 2016:

Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!

Image credit – Rose Tampon Art by Pip Marks (2015)

Categories: Health & Wellbeing

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. You do find the most interesting topics! Some synchronicity – just today I was in the ladies room at Home Depot (big hardware/home supply chain here) and noticed that they had, instead of the tampon machine, a bin full of tampons for the taking…I’d never seen that before. Also, speaking of access to toilets, another synchronicity: I just started reading The Big Necessity, by Rose George. (really good, you might like it too)

    • Thanks for the tip about the book. It looks great. Also re Home Depot. I’ve been trying to find something online about it but no luck so far. Some high schools in the US are also introducing free tampons (& pads?).

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