Menstrual hygiene and ample choice of supplies are things we take for granted in the United States, like clean pads and tampons. Another thing we don’t even think about is that if we get our period at school or at work, we have options for dealing with it. We can discretely ask to borrow a tampon or find a bathroom with a machine to buy one. The worst case scenario is that we make a homemade pad from rolled up toilet paper to get us through the next hour or so until we can find a real one.
All of these will work and even the worst case scenario is better than using mud, leaves, grasses or literal “rags.” In some countries the worst case scenario is bleeding through clothes and embarrassment, followed by staying at home because of a lack of supplies. NPR recently wrote about this topic and you can find their compelling article here.
Unless your symptoms are debilitating, you typically won’t miss school or work due to period bleeding. That isn’t the case for women and girls in other parts of the world. May 28th is menstrual hygiene day…yes, one day. Many diseases get a month, but a normal bodily function that affects 50% of the global population on a monthly basis has one day. There was a lot of information shared on social media on May 28th about these issues.
If you have a Twitter handle, do a little research using #menstrualhealth. You will see some charts from many worthy NGO’s that are dealing with the lack menstruation supplies in unique ways. The bottom line for most of these organizations is to empower women through jobs by manufacturing supplies in a local setting and keeping young girls in school by giving them sanitary pads.
Just something to think about next time you are bummed because you have to stash a tampon in a clutch for an evening out. We are so lucky to have clean supplies!