Today, millions of women and girls* around the world are stigmatised, excluded and discriminated against simply because they menstruate.
It’s not acceptable that because of a natural bodily function women and girls continue to be prevented from getting an education, earning an income and fully and equally participating in everyday life.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day, we are supporting The Cycle's Happy Period Programme, to recognise the crucial role that menstrual hygiene plays in girls' empowerment and in broken the pattern of gender inequality and child marriage.
*We recognise that not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman and that not all women menstruate
Georgina Harding, CEO of The Cycle, joined us to talk positive periods, supporting women and the incredible work their organisation is doing.
Your organisation has been working with communities in need for over 25 years. Can you tell us a little about that?
Our focus is unlocking the power of women to build gender equality, and our work primarily focuses on addressing various challenges faced by these marginalised communities and finding sustainable solutions to help them work their own way out of poverty. By working closely with local partners we can understand the unique needs of those we support, and can foster long-term relationships that can create lasting positive change.
We cover a wide range of initiatives, including access to education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, livelihood opportunities, and supporting women and girls. It's important to realise that sustainable development can only be achieved by empowering individuals and communities to become self-reliant and resilient, so that in the future we aren't needed.
By addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality now, we can help transform lives forever. It's that simple.
Brides Do Good are donating 100% of our appointment fees for one week to support the Happy Periods programme, can you explain what the programme is and its impact?
The Happy Periods Programme is an initiative that aims to address menstrual health needs among vulnerable communities. So many girls and women around the world face significant challenges in managing their periods safely and with dignity. Our programme focuses on providing access to menstrual hygiene products, education, and facilities for those who lack them.
Brides Do Good's support will really contribute to making a positive difference in the lives of these individuals. The impact of the Happy Periods Programme is substantial. It not only ensures that girls and women have the necessary resources to manage their periods hygienically, but also breaks down the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in education, work, and social activities. By addressing menstrual hygiene needs, we can promote dignity, health, and empowerment for those we're working with.
Why is menstrual hygiene management crucial for girls' empowerment?
The Happy Periods Programme has supported over 53,000 girls and women. There are some boys and men in there too, as education is critical in recognising the crucial role that menstrual hygiene management plays in girls' empowerment. Menstruation is a natural biological process, yet many girls face significant challenges due to lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene resources and facilities.
When girls cannot manage their periods safely and with dignity, it often leads to absenteeism from school, which hampers their educational progress. Menstrual hygiene management is crucial for girls' empowerment because it directly impacts their ability to stay in school, pursue their education, and break free from the cycle of poverty.
Moreover, proper menstrual hygiene management ensures girls' overall health and well-being. It reduces the risk of infections and associated health complications, allowing girls to lead healthy lives and realise their full potential. By supporting menstrual hygiene, we empower girls to take charge of their bodies, education, and future.
Our mission at Brides Do Good is to end child marriage. How are child marriage and menstrual hygiene poverty connected?
Lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and facilities contributes to the prevalence of child marriage in several ways.
When girls do not have the necessary resources to manage their periods safely, it becomes a barrier to their education. Education is critical because it provides learning and tools necessary to craft a more independent future, an awareness if their human rights, social support, and witnesses to their well being, without which the risk of forced early marriage is far higher.
Limited access to menstrual hygiene resources also perpetuates harmful gender norms and
stereotypes. Girls may be stigmatised or ostracised during menstruation, further restricting their freedom and mobility. In such situations, families might even see child marriage as a way to protect girls from societal judgments and secure their future.
On the other hand, improved access to menstrual hygiene resources empowers girls and reduces their vulnerability to child marriage. When girls have the necessary education, products and facilities to manage their periods, they can confidently continue their education, pursue their aspirations, and delay marriage until they are ready. By providing these resources, we break the barriers that limit girls' choices and empower them to make informed decisions about their own lives.
What are the specific challenges faced by girls in terms of menstrual hygiene in communities where child marriage is prevalent?
Unfortunately menstruation taboos often arise due to cultural norms, religious
beliefs, lack of education, and limited access to menstrual hygiene products and facilities. These tabboos can reinforce harmful stereotypes about menstruation, considering it impure, dirty, or even sinful.
The consequences of menstruation taboos include social exclusion, limited access to education, poor menstrual hygiene management, and negative psychological impacts on women and girls. All of this contributes acts to hinder women's empowerment and gender equality, making instances of child marriage and other gender-related abuse and discrimination far more likely.
What can our audience do to support the Happy Periods Programme?
Join us this Menstrual Hygiene Day to raise funds for the Happy Periods Programme. With a donation of £25, you can provide a girl with access to this life-changing initiative. The programme goes beyond just providing menstrual products. It equips young girls and their communities with the knowledge and understanding they need about menstruation, their bodies, puberty, sexual literacy, consent, the removal of period-related taboos, and gender inclusivity.
The impact of every contribution is truly significant. You can help keep girls in school and give them the tools they need to succeed. By breaking the cycle of period poverty through the Happy Periods Programme, you can help create a brighter future for these girls, empowering them to navigate their menstrual health with confidence and dignity.
To find out more about The Cycle's work, and how you can support, please head to their website, email their amazing team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep up with their work and how we're working together on their Instagram, @wearethecycle.