Before Meghan met Harry….

Like the rest of the world we watched what felt like a real life fairy tale unfold before our eyes!! 

The Guests! The wonderful Choir and of course THE DRESS!

However, before Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex… she was actually a pretty amazing Humanitarian from speaking out about Sexism at the tender age of 11 her work to promote the issue of clean water in areas such a Rwanda. 

Interestingly, Meghan penned an essay for Time Magazine  about young girls in places such as India and Africa loosing out on education once their periods started. 

Read her essay below and tell us what you think in the Comment section! 

Meghan Markle: How Periods Affect Potential

Imagine a world where the female leaders we revere never achieved their full potential because they dropped out of school at the age of thirteen. In the Western world this is challenging to fathom, but for millions of young women globally, this remains their harsh reality for a staggering reason. From sub-Saharan Africa to India, Iran, and several other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation directly inhibit young women from pursuing an education.

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. Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke directly about this subject at the World Bank in April 2016, and various NGOs actively seek out policy reform and programming to address this concern, yet the topic remains neglected.

I traveled to Delhi and Mumbai this January with World Vision to meet girls and women directly impacted by the stigmatization of menstrual health and to learn how it hinders girls’ education. One hundred and thirteen million adolescent girls between the ages of 12-14 in India alone are at risk of dropping out of school because of the stigma surrounding menstrual health. During my time in the field, many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports, and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely. Furthermore, with minimal dialogue about menstrual health hygiene either at school or home due to the taboo nature of the subject, many girls believe their bodies are purging evil spirits, or that they are injured once a month; this is a shame-filled reality they quietly endure. All of these factors perpetuate the cycle of poverty and stunt a young girl’s dream for a more prolific future.

The Indian government initiated a campaign in 2014 called “Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child,” reinforcing the value of a girl’s life and her education. And while this initiative steers India closer to the Sustainable Development Goals, (specifically universal education & gender equality), the fact remains that only fifty percent of secondary schools in India have toilets, leaving roughly fifty percent of the population deterred from attending. If MHM were part of the conversation surrounding policy change, just as access to clean water and sanitation, it would push the conversation (and actualization of it) significantly further.

When a girl misses school because of her period, cumulatively that puts her behind her male classmates by 145 days. And that’s the mitigated setback if she opts to stay in school, which most do not. The latter elect to return home, increasing their subjection to dangerous work, susceptibility to being victims of violence, and most commonly, being conditioned for early childhood marriage. As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth, first overcoming female feticide, then being victim to malnourishment, potentially abuse, and lack of access to proper sanitation facilities. Why, if she is able to overcome all of these challenges and finally get to school, should her education and potential to succeed, be sacrificed because of shame surrounding her period?

To remedy this problem, young girls need MHM, access to toilets, and at a most basic level, sanitary pads. Twenty-three percent of girls in India drop out of school because these factors are not at play. During my time in the slum communities outside of Mumbai, I shadowed women who are part of a microfinance system where they manufacture sanitary napkins and sell them within the community. The namesake of the organization, Myna Mahila Foundation, refers to a chatty bird (“myna”) and “mahila” meaning woman. The name echoes the undercurrent of this issue: we need to speak about it, to be “chatty” about it. Ninety-seven percent of the employees of Myna Mahila live and work within the slums, creating a system which as, Nobel Peace prize nominee Dr. Jockin Arputham shared with me, is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and allowing access to education. In addition, the women’s work opens the dialogue of menstrual hygiene in their homes, liberating them from silent suffering, and equipping their daughters to attend school.

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.

Wasted opportunity is unacceptable with stakes this high. To break the cycle of poverty, and to achieve economic growth and sustainability in developing countries, young women need access to education. When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally. If that is our dream for them, then the promise of it must begin with us. Period.

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Menstrual Hygiene Day #nomorelimits

The 28th May marks World Menstrual Hygiene Day!

This day is of much significance to not only the Periodical Diary team about to young girls and women all over the world!
Increasingly periods are being spoken about in the media which is a great step in eradicating shame and stigma associated with periods.

However, people are talking less about cleanliness and how to manage more heavier periods.  We remember that in a workshop we delivered some young people were uncertain of how often to change their sanitary products and disposing of sanitary wear effectively.

It is wonderful to have a day to really focus on these issues and ultimately continue to provide further information on menstruation.

Below is the official Music Video from the campaign performed  by DEE MC.

 

We talk periods in school here

Mooncups are pretty cool alternatives to pads as tells us here 

 

Supporting the cause

This week we attended a protest at Parliament Square to support Bloody Good Period’s campaign.

Armed with a #BloodyLaundry installation, we stood on Parliament Square to highlight Period Poverty and the struggles that Refugees & Asylum seekers encounter.

Similar to our objectives, Bloody Good Period are calling on the government to increase the allowance for sanitary products or make them free.

It was lovely to see such support and meet some amazing women, doing great things in the field of Menstruation.

Check out our Instagram post for video footage Click here

It’s everywhere

We feel it’s time for a REAL conversation about periods. What are your first thoughts when you hear the word Period??

Historically the media has been promoting the negative images or humorous aspect of periods but rarely are the facts at the forefront.

Just type Period quotes in google – we did and we were underwhelming by the first images that popped up.

Nothing informative or uplifting, just pages and pages of this…..

But we at Periodical Diary are about solutions, so it got us thinking, what do we need to do to replace this with positive images? How can we reclaim the word?

We believe education is key, that’s why we are focused on spreading a positive message to the next generation, in the hopes that it will change the narrative, shame the shame and normalise the experience.

Our workshops are fun, positive, interactive and curriculum based.

If you think that your school, youth group or organisation would benefit from our workshop, please contact us Here

Forward thinking Employers

Following a #Throwback Thursday picture that was posted via our Instagram, we began to ponder on what makes a company forward thinking….

During a trip to Facebook HQ, we noted a cute little crate on the counter by the sink with free sanitary products.

We mentioned this to a staff member and was advised that both the male and female toilets had this crate to allow access to everyone that may need the products.

Well done Facebook

How forward thinking is your company??

All Change

One act of kindness, acceptance can really change the way we feel about our periods.

We came across this great piece about Youtuber Ingrid Nilsen, talking about times in her life that have influenced her views on her period from Period: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth .…. we will definitely be checking out this book !!

It included a heartwarming recollection of her first period and how her mum had been such a positive part of that experience.

It got us thinking about times in our life’s that have changed the way that we think and feel about our periods.

Have a think…..

  • What experience have moulded your views?
  • Have your views changed over time?

Link to full article:

https://apple.news/AuHCYjO_WSdm2J7-jWN53rQ

Connecting and Redistributing

We are so grateful to everyone that has taken the time to support our campaigns, donation drives and generally help spread the message of “Period Empowerment”

We also know that it is very important to show you where your donations go as they are much needed.

Recently we met with a Catholic Primary school in Croydon and had an amazing conversation around the current knowledge set of their pupils, who provides the school’s sanitary product supply and how the education around periods is delivered.

We were saddened but not shocked to find that the teachers have personally taken on the responsibility to provide sanitary products for their classes as the Government offer schools no support in their education budget.

We were able to provide some great advice and we also donated 154 pads (to start) for the girls in Years 5 & 6.

We are hoping to keep working and donating to this school in the future.

If your school (UK Based) would benefit from our donations of sanitary products – please get in touch via the contact page

Menstruation Matters workshop

We believe that knowledge is power and one of the greatest ways to have the open conversation about periods is through our workshop

We learn a great deal about the levels of knowledge, range of experiences, what is being offered/ delivered in schools through the national curriculum and we are able to dispel a few myths, taboos and “old wives tales” along the way.

Our most recent workshop was with teenaged girls (15 -17 years old), via the Ashton Jazz Academy.

We also had the pleasure of donating period supplies to the founder of the academy for their upcoming residential week!

Please feel free to contact us if you would like the team to deliver a workshop!