South African manufacturer of reusable sanitary pads, Subz Pants and Pads, is encouraging a ‘period positive’ attitude this Menstrual Hygiene Day – celebrated globally on Monday, 28 May – by asking people everywhere to share their reasons why #menstruationmatters on all digital platforms.
“There has been an international #menstruationmatters campaign that highlights the historically negative association many cultures and nationalities have assigned to a biological process which is experienced by half the world’s population every month,” explained Sue Barnes, founder of Subz Pants and Pads as well as the NPO extension, Project Dignity. “Subz is united in this movement to make menstruation hygiene management a priority as it directly affects the self-esteem, health and education of every woman. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate womanhood by asking people to share their thoughts on why menstruation matters to them.”
The stigma associated with menstruation impacts the lives of women everywhere. In certain cultures, women are ostracised from their family homes during their menstrual cycle because they are considered ‘unclean’, sometimes with fatal consequences. This false concept also sees women prevented from touching certain food, objects or people so as to prevent a perceived ‘contamination’.
For the 2018 Menstrual Hygiene Day, the handle #nomorelimits will be highlighting these myths and misconceptions around menstruation, providing an open platform of engagement. Women will no longer be limited by untruths associated with menstruation, limited by stigma and abuse, nor will their access to the necessary sanitary products and facilities be limited.
In South Africa, as with many other nations, many young women are currently very limited in that they do not have access to sanitary products because of a lack of funding. They are forced to use unsanitary items such as rags, newspapers or even leaves which can be detrimental to their health.
Education, a vital tool for female empowerment, is also drastically hindered by inadequate access to sanitary products and toilet facilities as millions of young women are forced to miss a week of a school every month during menstruation.
It was this realisation that prompted KwaZulu-Natal-based Sue Barnes into developing the environmentally-friendly, economically beneficial, reusable sanitary pad and accompanying panty. After the establishment of Subz Pants and Pads – which manufactures the reusable sanitary product which lasts between three and five years – Barnes set up Project Dignity, the non-profit extension.
Through Project Dignity, Barnes and her team, with the support of numerous companies and fellow NPOs, have undertaken activations at schools across South Africa, providing sponsored packs of Subz pads to thousands of schoolgirls in disadvantaged communities. Alongside the sanitary pad distribution, Project Dignity also offers a fun, educational talk on puberty and menstruation. Their work speaks directly to the #nomorelimits and #menstruationmatters campaigns.
“Because of the stigma associated with menstruation, countless young women are brought to a state of panic, thinking their lives are in danger because they are bleeding with no knowledge about the process,” explained Barnes. “We provide a really engaging platform for youngsters to address any questions they have related to menstruation and puberty that they wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing in other circumstances. We feel it is essential that young men have just as much information about the biological processes as women. We can’t erase this misconceived notion of hygiene unless we empower our youth with the facts.”
To support this meaningful campaign, download a printable #menstruationmatters board from www.subzpads.co.za. Write your views on why #menstruationmatters, take a selfie with the board, and upload this image to any social media platform using the #menstruationmatters or #nomorelimits handle.
In addition to this campaign, Project Dignity forms part of the MySchool Vote4Charity contest running from 18 May to 18 June. For every vote, R5 will be donated to Project Dignity and the top three contenders will win a professional promotional video shoot. To vote for Project Dignity, visit www.myschool.co.za/vote4charity
Beyond the #menstruationmatters campaign, Project Dignity offers companies and individuals with many opportunities to support those in need with reusable Subz Pants and Pads donations. Visit the website www.projectdignity.org.za for more information about the work being done to help uplift and empower South African girls.