By Celine Tran
Did you know that an estimated 500 million people globally who menstruate lack access to menstrual products? For this reason, many people miss out on things like going to work or school simply because they are on their period. This is an issue that isn’t talked about enough, which is why the members of Young Women on the Move have taken the initiative to make a change to this growing statistic.
On February 7th, the Days for Girls menstrual kits arrived in South Sudan. Packaged by the Young Women on the Move club, these kits will go to people in need of menstrual products with things such as reusable, long-lasting pads. Days for Girls is a nonprofit organization that focuses on menstrual health and getting those who menstruate the products and education they need for their periods. When inquired on the subject, Ms. Raza, a Harbord Collegiate teacher, said, “The girls who get these packages are learning to be independent and be a part of society during their periods rather than being sent away to hide. It is also starting an important dialogue for young women that periods are not shameful and should be embraced.”
When asked about why there’s a lack of menstrual products in places across the world, Harbord Collegiate teacher Ms. Eskedjian said, “I think a big reason is gender inequity, unfortunately. There’s a thought that it’s not essential. Even in Canada, things like birth control, they’re not covered by our health care here. So, there’s kind of this idea that some of these things are not necessities. When really, not having them makes it so much more difficult for women to live their everyday lives.”
The scope of the discussion turned further into origins of the issue when Ms. Raza expressed, “Many cultures attach a stigma to periods and consequently do not think there is a need for girls to be out and about during these days. Instead the girls are sequestered in small huts alone until the period is over. There is also a lot of poverty worldwide that creates a barrier to purchasing these products even if they are available.”
So, what can we do about the global lack of access to menstrual products? According to Ms. Eskedjian, awareness, education, and a commitment to change are all important things to consider when approaching the issue. Equally important is to stay aware and educate others so that people with power can notice this issue and start making changes for the better. Ms. Raza suggests volunteering or donating to Days for Girls or any other similar organizations. Although this issue is very complex, it’s safe to say that somewhere in the world there are people who finally have access to menstrual products all thanks to Days for Girls and the members of Young Women on the Move.