Keeping Girls in Class One Pad at a Time

If Men Could Menstruate…..

I came across an article an article by Gloria Steiten and I could not help but laugh.Let me share a few pieces.

“What if men could menstruate? The answer is clear – menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event. Men would brag about how long and how much.

Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties.

Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free…

Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve in the Army or occupy political office?”), be priest and ministers ” 

The line that caught my eye was ‘Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free.

Did you know that Sanitary towels and tampons are a luxury to women in the developing world?  Half the girls are missing school due to menstruation and the main reason given is that sanitary pads are too expensive.

For women, 24% miss work—up to 45 days per year—for the same reason. This not only limits girls’ educational and women’s professional achievement, but leads to a significant economic loss for nations.

The lack of affordable hygienic products and facilities, compounded by negative cultural attitudes, has profoundly and adversely affected the education of puberty-age girls in Africa. According to UNICEF, one in 10 school-age African girls stays home during her period or drops out entirely. As reported in this Project’s briefing papers, “In countries where menstrual hygiene is taboo, girls in puberty are typically absent for 20 percent of the school year.” Nor is this quandary limited to adolescence; working women also lose productive time during their periods. And even women who attend classes and jobs despite a lack of access to sanitary protection often substitute materials such as bark, rags or mud, with detrimental health consequences.

How can we make sanitary towels affordable? 

Do we ask for donations month in ,month out?

In Kenya, the manufacturing of sanitary towels are in the hands of few companies, and only the middle class and the wealthy can afford it. What happens to the rest of the women. Do they suffer in silence and shame? Is there a way out for them?

Wouldn’t it be nice if women became stakeholders in the Sanitary towels business?

Wouldn’t it be great  for women to rely on local sources for sanitation and toilet facilities.  Wouldn’t it be ideal for   women to use sanitary napkins made of local materials that could be reused.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was  no stigma associated with menstruation in Kenya  and girls wouldn’t have to hide in shame when they hit puberty.


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