Busting period taboos
Challenging period myths and making menstruation easier.
Two women who've made it their mission to smash period taboos, and make it easier for girls to manage their menstrual health. Kim Chakanetsa speaks to campaigners from India and Tanzania.
When Aditi Gupta got her first period she was banned from sitting on the family sofa or touching certain foods. From the women in her family she also learned to feel shame and to hide her damp menstrual rags in dark places, exposing her to infection. As an adult she decided to help break the taboo, and create the Menstrupedia comic book, a global resource for parents and teachers to talk about periods comfortably with their girls.
Lucy Odiwa's first period arrived just as she was called on to answer a question in class. As she stood up her classmates began to snigger at the stain on her skirt. She says as well as being embarrassed and confused, she then often had to skip school when menstruating because she couldn't afford hygiene products. Now a successful businesswoman, she has developed a low-cost reusable sanitary towel.
(Image: Lucy Odiwa (L) Credit: UN Women/Amanda Voisard. (R) Aditi Gupta. Credit: Menstrupedia)