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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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

International Women’s Day at SouthBank University

We were honoured to deliver a talk on our journey, our future goals and most importantly #genderequality at London Southbank University. Our talk formed part of a series of events to celebrate International Women’s Day♀

Thank you to all those who attended and donated sanitary items to help us further our reach to those in need.

An amazing 540 individual sanitary items were donated on the day.

Connecting overseas

Wonderful morning in #NewYork meeting the lovely ladies of @endofound where we discussed their mission to highlight and educate the condition that is #endometriosis also informed team of our journey thus far #womensupportingwomen #womenshealth #periods #international

No Ordinary Woman Chat Show

We are passionate about all things periods and the inequalities that associated with such a topic.

We love using various form of mediums to share knowledge and advice on how to navigate your period. So we were honoured when presenter Caz of No Ordinary Women reached out to us to discuss our initiative on her show. 

We had fun filming  the segment! We hope you find our interview informative and entertaining – let us know in the comment section what you think!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cebiApVbVKs

You can support our initiative here.

Please sign our petition to eradicate Period Poverty.

Check out piece in TOTM.

Will Period Poverty feature in the 2017 Budget??

We were recently mentioned in the Independent Newspaper regarding making Period Poverty a priority in the upcoming budget. Click the link

Ending Period Poverty should be a priority in the next budget

Or the full article can be found below….

Published Saturday 18 November 2017 16:14 GMT

Ending ‘period poverty’ among young women should be a priority in next week’s Budget

One in 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford hygiene products and are missing school as a result. In a country as prosperous as Britain this is an outrage.

“Periods are a natural process that are a part of nearly every girl’s life. But without access to toilets or sanitary products at school, girls’ lives are put on hold during their period, as they have little choice but to stay at home.”

Those are the words of ActionAid, a charity raising money for girls around Africa, where one in 10 female pupils miss school while they are on their period.

But the sad truth is that this is a problem we are facing here in the UK too. Plan International UK found that one in 10 girls were unable to afford hygiene products. The result is that here too, girls here are skipping school while on their period, or using unsuitable substitutes such as socks because they cannot afford to buy basic sanitary protection.

This is shocking, but for those of us who have been listening to those affected and campaigning alongside them, it is no longer surprising. If it was once a hidden scandal, it is now being brought into the open – and that means that there is simply no excuse for the Government to ignore their responsibility to tackle it.

Unfortunately though, that is what ministers have so far chosen to do. That is why MPs across parties are now coming together to demand better.

In a country as prosperous as Britain this is an outrage and that is why ahead of the Budget we are calling on the Government to provide for free sanitary products in all schools for those who need them.

That should not be all they do. We now know the problem but we need to know the scale of it. The research to date has been carried out by campaigners and groups like Plan International UK. School girls in Leeds recently told their stories about missing out on education, and teachers of how they keep supplies in the classroom, paying from their own pockets.

Food banks have told us of the increasing donations of, and demand for, tampons and pads which are gratefully received by women struggling to afford them. Campaign group Periodical Diary told us about donating sanitary products to a school, and finding female pupils quietly asking when they would be back with more supplies.

But we have not had any comprehensive research from the UK Government, even though assessing the problem is surely a sensible first step to solving it.

This is not something that requires vast sums of money being spent. Proposals from our parties, for example, have been costed at up to £3m or £10m a year, a tiny fraction of the education budget in either case.

Justine Greening is Secretary of State for both Education and for Women and Equalities. An issue like this cannot simply pass her by. We know she is well aware of it because we have challenged her on it in the House.

In March, she responded to a Liberal Democrat question by admitting it was “an important point” and promising to look into it. But last month, she told Labour MPs that it was an issue for schools, not the Government, and astonishingly suggested it was the fault of parents if their children lost out on education.

We are not prepared to let the Government off the hook that easily, and MPs across parties are united in the fight to end period poverty. The Government could easily take action on this, and it could start at this week’s Budget. But if it does not, MPs can address the issue directly as the Budget goes through the parliamentary process. In a Parliament with no Tory majority, MPs working together have the power to make change even when ministers drag their feet.

Period poverty should outrage everyone, regardless of party. The Chancellor should be wary of testing our commitment to tackling it.

Layla Moran MP is the Liberal Democrat education spokesperson; Paula Sherriff is the Labour MP for Dewsbury and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health

Buzzzzing

Last month we sat down with Buzzfeed Reporter Fiona Rutherford to discuss our growing initiative and myth bust!

A friend once admitted that when she’s on her period, she sticks two tampons in her bra – one in each cup – as she gets dressed in the morning. She’d rather do this, she said, than get caught in the office reaching into her handbag for a tampon and taking that dreaded walk to the bathroom.

The ritual may seem extreme, but she wouldn’t be the first person with a vagina to go to such lengths to conceal sanitary items. After all, taking your entire bag to the loo just screams, “Hello! It’s that time of the month!”

So despite women feeling comfortable talking about periods with your inner circle, the “p-word” isn’t something we talk about freely in public – it’s still seen as embarrassing.

But two women have decided enough is enough – it’s 2017, periods aren’t a secret, and they’re certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

For the past year social worker Elizabeth Folarin and housing officer Karleen Jones have dedicated their spare time to creating Periodical Diary – an online platform providing “period empowerment” to young girls.

You can catch the rest of our interview here.

You can support us here.

You can meet the team in November.

#TalkingPeriods in schools: Are we having the right conversations?

We are so pleased to be part of TOTM’S #talking periods campaign which aims to dismantle the taboos associated with periods. 
Check out our blog contribution don’t forget to like, share and comment below: 

How are we talking about periods to the younger generation? This is an important topic. What young people learn about periods in school, can affect how they manage their periods as they grow up.

We spoke to Elizabeth Folarin, co-founder of Periodical Diary to find out more about periods in education. Periodical Diary run interactive workshops in primary and secondary schools.

Are young people getting enough information?

Elizabeth is an expert in this area and here she tells us all about how schools are managing ‘the period talk’ and where there’s room for improvement…

“I remember my first ‘period talk’ in school. ‘The egg is not fertilised by sperm the lining comes away and your period will begin’ said the super-hot science supply teacher.

I was 13 and couldn’t stop cringing, I literally wanted the ground to swallow me up! The rest of the science lesson became very factual and well, ‘sciencey’. I didn’t know what the teacher was talking about but apparently what he described was going on in my body at that very moment……

You can read the rest of the submission and browse TOTM’s 100% Organic Cotton sanitary products here.
Have you signed our petition yet?
Please support our initiative here.

 

 

 

 

 

Building Our Brand

We have been extraordinary busy in the month of September!

Going into the final quarter of the 2017 we wanted to really push Periodical Diary to reach new heights and platforms to highlight an array of matters relating to Periods.

We were therefore ecstatic to learn that Dawn Butler MP of Brent and Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, is pledging that the next Labour Government will provide free sanitary products in schools and food banks. Dawn is working with Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour MSP for Central Scotland. Monica is currently running a consultation on period poverty for a Scottish Bill that will make sanitary wear free for all. We have taken part in the consultation and urge all interested parties to do so as the consultation ends on 8th December 2017.

Period Poverty is an inequality that we believe should be eradicated.

It is fantastic that the issue of period poverty has become a key issue on the political stage, the need for such items is why we are campaigning to use the current ‘tampon tax’ to subside sanitary wear for young people – please lend us your support and sign our petition.

We are also tackling period poverty via the donation arm of our initiative, which allows us to engage with young people and families who require such items. We have built a great relationship with a London based Children’s charity, where we were able to tap into a network of schools who expressed a need for sanitary items. Using the donations we received in our summer drive, we have delivered over 1200 sanitary items or Periodical Diary Packs (PDP) (as we like to call them!) to a slew of schools in London. We are continuing to build this network and will be delivering to more schools shortly. Additionally, we have expanded our reach to a social care team that work with no recourse to public funds families such as Asylum seekers and refugees.

For those who still wish to donate we will be holding another drive later in the year till then you can support us here.

Aside from campaigning and donations we also love supporting women and organisations who are in our line of work. As CLUE (great period tracking app) Ambassadors we were excited to be invited to their first ever event held at Facebook, London. Not only was it a great networking opportunity we were able to further strengthen our knowledge on menstruation which will go into enhancing our workshops that we deliver in schools.

Moreover, we have been involved in TOTM’s (cool period subscription service) #talkingperiods campaign which aims to encourage conversation on all aspects of the menstrual cycle.

To round off this amazing month we spent an afternoon at Buzzfeed’s UK office discussing our initiative. This meeting also led us to reflect on how far we have come… thanks to support of the all our readers, followers and members of the public!!

We are fully committed to building our platform of providing period related information, support and Periodical Diary Packs.

We are looking to collaborate with brands and initiatives that fit our ethos so please feel free to get in Contact!

Many Thanks

Elizabeth and Kaye x

Periodical Diary Team