A new ActionAid poll this week tells us that a third of women in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about their periods.1 But isn't it about time we stopped feeling ashamed about something natural?
Periods affect approximately half the population at some point in their lives - yet there is still stigma and shame attached to them. Whispered conversations about that time of the month, period pains, lending each other tampons. We don't have a whispered conversation about a headache so let's stop doing it when we have our periods.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day (Saturday 28th May) we're following suit of some amazing celebrity funny women and saying: let's talk periods! Jo Brand, Miriam Margolyes and Fay Ripley share their funniest period stories in the hope that we can start busting some of the secrecy surrounding periods.
Jo Brand tells us why she was shocked after her mum told her about periods
Fay Ripley thought her period was, what?
Miriam Margolyes had us in stitches as she recounts a school days story
Behind these funny stories is a serious message. Shame and embarrassment about periods isn't just something that affects women and girls in the UK. This is a global issue and can have a big impact on the lives girls in the countries that we work in around the world.
It's incredible that 1 in 10 girls in Africa will miss school when she has her period. ActionAid is not only working to bust taboos and embarrassment but we're also working to improve access to sanitary products and improve hygiene facilities for schoolgirls.
In Rwanda, ActionAid has helped to build 'safe spaces' in 9 schools which girls from some of the poorest communities now have access to. These safe rooms include clean toilet facilities, somewhere to rest, wash and use sanitary products so girls can stay in school for longer which helps to break the cycle of poverty.
In Malawi, ActionAid is providing training to mothers in communities to make low cost sanitary products for the poorest girls. These products, which are cost effective and re-usable are helping girls to stay in school longer. Mothers are hoping to turn this into a longer term business by selling the extra products at market providing them with more opportunities to earn an income and support their families.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day we want to get everyone talking about why #menstruationmatters. And you can help! Share this blog on Twitter and Facebook to start the conversation and help break the taboos about periods that are holding girls back.
1 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1096 females. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 10th May 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+).Suggest a correction