Think back to your first period. If you felt confused and/or embarrassed, you’re not alone. All over the world, young girls feel ashamed when they start their period because of the stigma surrounding it.
Of course, many of us have the luxury of pads, tampons, and anti-inflammatory pills to make our time of the month more comfortable, but girls in other parts of the world aren’t as lucky.
And Suits star Meghan Markle wants to make a change. She recently penned an essay for TIME to share her thoughts on the stigma surrounding menstrual health.
Based on societal ignominy in the developing world, shame surrounding menstruation and its direct barrier to girls education remains a hushed conversation. As a result, both household dialogue and policy making discussions often leave Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) off the table.
Markle recalled her experience from her travels in Delhi and Mumbai when she “met girls and women directly impacted by the stigmatization of menstrual health to learn how it hinders girls’ education.” She states that over 113 million young girls between the ages of 12-14 are on the verge of dropping out of school because they’re either embarrassed, believe that period blood marks the presence of an evil spirit, or think their bodies have been injured…that’s one more girl that could’ve grown up to be an influential woman if she had received the proper education on menstrual health.
Beyond India, in communities all over the globe, young girls’ potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world. To that I say: we need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls’ education from the ground up, and within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.
Read her full essay here.
What are your thoughts on the stigma surrounding periods? Weigh in on the comments below.
xx, The FabFitFun Team