gregory_lee via Getty Images
In Tanga, as in much of East Africa, there is a strict culture of silence surrounding menstruation. It is not spoken about. For girls with disabilities, the taboo compounds their issues, because they are not always capable of understanding exactly what menstruation is, or able to manage it independently.
SolStock via Getty Images
I was contacted by a journalist at CBC about Mensez Feminine lipstick I thought the product was a (bad) joke. This guy wants women to glue their labia shut so they can let out their blood when they pee out their urine.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is like PMS on steroids; it's not just a bad mood or feeling over-emotional for a few hours. It's an ongoing pattern of severe premenstrual symptoms (both physical and psychological) that interfere with your daily life and relationships.
A new how-to manual for aid workers lays out the issues and practical steps that all must take to ensure women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, including menstrual health that is a precursor to preventing and mitigating gender based violence. Included in these guidelines is a specific requirement to ensure dignified access to hygiene-related materials.
Maria SwÃ¤rd via Getty Images
Because nobody bleeds blue liquid.
Menstruation is one of the leading causes of absenteeism among adolescent girls, with girls in Kenya missing an average of four days each month. Without access to accurate and essential health information, girls have limited understanding of how their bodies work. Femme International's study in Nairobi showed that 80 per cent of girls had no idea what menstruation was before their first period, leading to feelings of fear, confusion, and shame. A new smartphone game aims to change that.
There is one critical issue that has been omitted from the SDGs -- the issue of addressing menstrual health and hygiene. Menstruation affects half of the global population. It is a topic that all women and girls are intimately familiar with and yet it is so rarely talked about on the global stage.
Ocskaymark via Getty Images
Many first grade children will finish the school year with no dictionary words for their genitals; and some fourth grade girls will start bleeding from a place in their body for which they either have no name, a family name or, if they are lucky, a dictionary word.
In Western culture, the dominating monotheistic religions have been a strong influence in alienating women from their own bodies by enforcing the belief that menstruating women are unclean and spiritually inferior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam view menstruation as a punishment from God.
A tampon ring could be the perfect gift from Aunt Flo.
Piotr Marcinski via Getty Images
Millions of girls around the world will miss school each month because of their periods. Because they don't have sanitary supplies, because they don't understand what is happening to them, or because they are taught that it means they are unclean and dirty. It doesn't have to be this way.
Mark Edward Atkinson via Getty Images
Because there's no such thing as a bad question.
Menstruation is part of who I am. At a few days away from being 30, I've been menstruating for over half my life. And I'm used to it. I accept the cramps, the bloating, and the high cost of feminine hygiene products. I'm confident I can handle my period on planes, in meetings, and even on beach vacations. I am a seasoned menstruator who always has spare pads in her handbag, in case you ever need to borrow any. And yet, I am freaking terrified of getting my period on my wedding day.
To unleash the power of the adolescent girls is to create a world where girls are able to take advantage of any and every opportunity to come her way. It means to create a world where she not only has access to education, but also the freedom to attend school. Where she has reliable sources of nutrition-rich food and clean water, and doesn't have to risk sexual assault to collect it.