Recently I’ve had a huge interest in women’s menstrual health.
Why? Well it started when Nepal experienced that horrendous earthquake in 2015. As soon as I heard, I thought of my good friend, Maya. I became friends with Maya while looking for a tailor to start my clothing line. And though that venture failed, we remained friends. Supporting one another, going out, inviting one another to our houses.
I knew her family lived in Nepal. I wasn’t sure where exactly but I knew they were there. So when I called to check in, I found out her family was safe but that her village was destroyed. This was heart breaking. My thoughts were how will they rebuild? What about food, water, sanitation? How will the women cope? What about the children?
Wait. How will the women cope? Where will they get sanitary pads? Soap? Hygiene products? Clean underwear?
These things made me think – how do women manage in times of crisis? I knew at that moment I couldn’t think that far ahead, so I reached out to friends on Facebook to see if there was anyone heading out to Nepal collecting valuable items to those who needed it most.
And there were. I reached out to co-workers and friends for anything they could spare or didn’t want. Winter clothes for children and adults, hygiene products, women’s underwear from the outlets, anything and everything that could be had was bought, delivered, co-ordinated etc. Sent by airfreight or as part of a traveller’s additional luggage. We did our bit.
We don’t normally think about these things when we watch the news and one sees all that suffering that goes on world wide. Deplorable humans kidnapping young girls, bombs falling from the sky maiming or killings innocent people. Even homeless women in developed countries like the United Kingdom or the United States wouldn’t have the means of purchasing sanitary products. They would have to think twice whether to put some food in the bellies or buy pads.
Girls and women in developing countries do not have the luxury to go to a shop down the street to buy a pack of pads, just like getting a bucket of water – they would have to travel far. Often times these same girls and women end up using old rags or leaves that leave them susceptible to infections that can potentially lead to death, if left untreated.
I am not a scientist, I do not profess to be one and I failed science in school – I do not even know why I bothered with an HSE Bio class in year 13. However, common sense says from an environmental aspect: if one woman will use an average of 11,000 sanitary napkins (approx.) in her lifetime and there are 3.76 billion women in this world. For argument’s sake – let’s take that number and deduce based on the following realities of our present day world:
War. Female Foeticide. Old age. Death. Disease. Giving birth. Lack of medical attention / assistance. Suicide. Murder. This is just a few that I can name at the top of my head…
So when you think of all these factors, its safe to say that there’s still roughly 3 billion + women on this planet (and rising).
Now if we factored in economic stability between the ones who have the money to buy a packet of pads versus those who can’t. Multiply that by 11,000 pads per woman…
The answer is seriously scary, in the trillions scary.
And these pads end up in landfills. Every day pads are in landfills. Yet, this simple product, in some countries, is regarded an “luxury item” and is taxed. So if women don’t want to pay this tax – they should all bleed once a month at home because the government are a bunch of illogical thieves and tax women an item they need.
What is even more baffling is why don’t companies that make sanitary napkins environmentally friendly and biodegradable? There’s no point putting a cotton lining if the majority of the product is all plastic. Where is the logic in that?
Small groups, charities & campaigns around the world are doing their part to spread the word about eco-friendly pads as well as involving communities to sew and create napkins that they can donate like Days for Girls International or even AFRIpads
To make a difference in your own life and to do the right thing by mother nature – we should all be considering choices like reusable menstrual pads or menstrual cups.
Its time to make a change. For ourselves, for other women and Mother Nature.
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