ENDING PERIOD POVERTY ONE MENSTRUAL CUP AT A TIME
I am so delighted to team up with Intimina and their amazing campaign to end period poverty for International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019.
I didn't know the numbers, but apparently - every day over 800 million women worldwide menstruate. Sadly, in many parts of the world, women's periods are still considered a taboo subject and many young girls who get their periods don't have the information they need to handle it or know what they need to do. On top, in many developing countries women and girls still don't have access to clean water, toilets, or sanitary products many of us take for granted.
And if you think this problem only exists in developing countries, think again. In 2017, period poverty hit the headlines when a teacher in the UK became concerned that girls were missing school because they couldn’t afford period products and in many countries sanitary products are taxed so high making them unaffordable for many women.
In fact, according to Plan International UK, 1 out of 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford period products and 27% of UK girls have admitted to using period products from longer than intended because they couldn't afford them, putting them in serious health risks.
As a woman and a mom of girls this worries me and is something that I feel we should all try and change.
When Intimina approached me with their idea I knew I had to take part. The idea of them sending Menstrual cups to girls and women in need around the world is just incredible and I hope you will join us in trying to make a difference!
The biggest advantage menstrual cups have over sanitary pads and tampons is that they are reusable. This makes them so much more affordable as they can be used over and over again. Apart from that, unlike tampons that can often dry you out, cups don't and there can often stay in place for longer than a tampon would. And of course, they are so much better for the environment. Billions of tampons and pads go to landfills ever year, all over the world, and the non-organic items take up to 500 years to decompose.
I have been a tampon and pad user for years since I got my period when I was 12 years old. I had a good experience overall and hadn't even heard about cups till last year so making the switch did not come easy for me. At first I had no idea how I would ever get the cup in since it is shaped like... well, a cup! But the cups are made out of soft silicon that is easily bended and folded and once you get the hang of inserting it, it becomes like a second nature.
The cup 'flips open' once it's inside and sits there collecting your period blood. To remove there is a little handle you just pull but if you're not sure there are plenty of videos online explaining all of this much better that I am!
Now, back to the Intimina's sisterhood!
In May this year, Intimina was pledging to donate one cup for every cup that is bought on their site to a woman in need somewhere in the world. Personally, I think raising awareness about alternative menstrual products is a good enough reason to give these cups a go. It may seem like a small thing, but trust me - it's not! You will be making a difference in someone's life.
The other thing is breaking the silence, not just with our girlfriends and daughters, with everyone - I do mean our sons and husbands too. Women get their periods, it's part of life and should not be something we shy away from or feel shame about.
So yes, I encourage you to talk about it as if you are talking about the weather. The next generation of women will thank you.
*In the image I am holding the Lily Cup One