Be Girl: Addressing a Forgotten Global Issue

Periods: Something no one likes discussing. People immediately cringe at the mention of blood or the thought of our monthly gift, and this is an awful thing. Why? Because people can be so blind that they forget to look past our amazing country and into developing ones. Period hygiene is a very important and dire issue in developing countries.

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Image via BeGirl.org

250 million girls currently do not have access to the proper materials to address their periods. This shocking statistic only leads to the increase of patriarchal values, and the education gap based on gender is widened by this issue. Girls on their periods don’t go to school. This can cause girls to miss up to a week of school each month, and that’s more than enough for someone to fall behind and drop out. Dropping out only leads to early marriage and childbirth, which continues to lock girls in a secondary position to males.

The issue of water and sanitation in other countries is a field that is mainly dominated by males and workers in global healthy who try to concentrate on diseases that are actually killing girls, thus leading to the period talk being overlooked. People forget that girls struggle to get access to feminine products either because they can’t afford them or because they can’t even find them. People also don’t realize that public schools in these countries can’t afford public toilets. It’s not that people are against helping girls, but the organizations and programs have limited funding, and the first thing coming to their mind in terms of sanitation and health are things like hunger and diseases.

Finally, though, some concerned activists and feminists are addressing this issue that is well overdue. Be Girl is an organization that’s set on achieving these few goals: loving their body, designing their life, and achieving all they can. What does this mean? By teaching girls about their body and increasing their access to menstrual technologies, there’s a decreased discomfort. By giving them access to technologies, they have more access to society. And with new products, girls will stop having to skip school when they have their periods and can start getting better education.

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Image via BeGirl.org

The organization has over 4,000 product units established in Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Jordan, Morocco, Kenya, and Ethiopia. What they have designed is a hybrid pad known as the FLEXI-PAD. The FLEXI-PAD is a reusable, washable, and absorbent holder pad. The user can use any safe absorbent, disposable, or reusable material inside their cotton lined “pad” as long as they change it every four hours.

They also have a PANTI-PAD that combines an absorbent holder pouch with advanced textiles and designs, and the result is a highly durable, washable, waterproof, and flexible underwear for repeated use without compromising performance. These materials are cost-saving due to the fact that the PANTI-PAD can last for two years and the FLEXI-PAD can last for one year.

You can go online to the Be Girl website and donate $11. This donation is enough to give a girl the access to the supplies that will keep her in school for a whole year. The company’s products are manufactured by women in Colombia in a safe factory environment with satisfying wages. In addition, these supplies are definitely more environmentally sound than plastic and cotton pads and tampons.

I know no one enjoys period talk, but maybe the more we address it, the sooner we’ll be more comfortable talking about it or the sooner we won’t have to talk about it. This overlooked issue has reached its dying day.

 

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