Wider spread education on periods needs to start right now.
Words by Niamh McCollum
In honour of Menstrual Hygiene Day, Plan International UK has just announced plans to start a new campaign to educate more people about periods.
This declaration comes after a recent study revealed some shocking home truths about the existing stigma surrounding the female menstrual cycle.
In a poll of 1,000 UK girls aged 14-21, one in five have experienced teasing and bullying around their periods, with as many as 57 per cent revealing that they’ve received negative comments of some kind connected with their period.
Heartbreakingly, 10 per cent of girls said they had been made to feel dirty or disgusting, with many admitting that it massively impacted their confidence and self-esteem.
In addition to these factors, Plan International’s study found that two thirds of girls have missed a partial or full day of school because of their period, with concerns about leaking, anxiety and embarrassment being cited as the force behind these absences.
As part of its efforts to strip the talk around periods free of all stigma and shame, Plan International is hosting a public event for Menstrual Hygiene Day on London’s South Bank.
There’s still a long way to go before the conversation around periods becomes normalised, so we need to act now to end the humiliation that so many young girls in the UK still face.
Discussing Plan International UK’s findings, Tanya Barron, Chief Executive at the charity, stated: ‘Girls across the UK are facing unacceptable stigma and shame linked to their periods, and this survey shows that, too often, this takes the form of verbal abuse and bullying.’
Tanya added: ‘If girls around the world are to reach their full potential then we must put an end to the stigma and taboo around periods, and the best way to do that is through education and open conversations that normalise periods and put an end to the silence.’
It’s time to put an end to the suffering caused by period polarisation – let’s get out there and talk.