Why Sparking Conversations That Address Period Stigma is so Important

This year, for Women’s Health Week, we are shining a light on the health issues we need to talk about more. So, the next time you’re after a fresh topic for the brunch table or *deep breath* another Zoom catch-up, might we suggest taking inspiration from these articles?

It’s hard not to feel fired up by the thought provoking words of these voices – from the period poverty fighter and inclusive healthcare advocate to the friends who are championing a more diverse beauty space. Empowering and enlightening perspectives, this way…

2021 Young Australian of the Year Isobel and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

2021 Young Australian of the Year Isobel is the co-founder and Director of Health and Education at Taboo (@tabooperiodproducts) – a brand of organic pads and tampons where 100 per cent of profits go towards fighting period poverty. Her goal is to break down the barriers facing menstruators around the world.

“Period poverty is when someone is unable to afford or access the products or services they need to manage their period safely, hygienically and with dignity. People use alternatives to soak up the blood, such as socks, mattress rippings and old cloths. It’s also about a lack of education around the menstrual cycle, and the fact we don’t talk about it – then people in positions of power don’t factor any [related] issues into their decision making.

We need to start talking about [periods] so we can create sustainable and meaningful solutions. “In some developing countries, 30 per cent of girls drop out of school as soon as they get their periods. The fact that it so strongly affects schooling is a huge issue, but [it also impacts] employment and that has a perpetuating effect on the poverty cycle and gender inequality. You see it in developed countries as well – a report from South Australia revealed young menstruators having to take days off school, reduce their hours at work, disengage in social or community activities [because of periods].

“Sparking conversation is an effective way to address [period] stigma. It makes a huge difference when we shift the tone from negative to positive. For example, instead of the first thing you teach young people being how to hide their periods or deal with them discreetly, it should be things like, ‘What’s going on in your body? Why is it happening? How can you harness the different fluctuating hormones so that you can reach your greatest potential throughout the month?’

“We don’t ask students or employees to bring their own toilet paper, so why do we ask people to bring pads or tampons? When we start to question what’s ‘normal’, we wonder why periods are treated differently to other bodily functions.”

The Heartbreaking Reality of Period Poverty and How You Can Help

8 Totally Not-Dumb Period Questions You’ve Been Too Embarrassed to Ask

7 Period Myths That Need To Go Away Right Now

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