Periods. A word that unfortunately remains a taboo. With comfort dictating our dialogue, we miss the connections of how menstrual inequity leads to education inequity, child marriage and maternal mortality. This leads to a global issue called the “period problem.”
Around the world, people who face the period problem are prevented from going about their everyday lives. In India, only 36% of women menstruating use sanitary pads whereas others are forced to resort to rags, making them more likely to deal with infections and diseases. In Kenya, 65% of women and girls face the financial burden of purchasing sanitary pads. In the U.S., inmates have to barter with prison guards to trade their soiled pads for more products. Additionally, girls and women who are unable to afford sanitary pads are forced into having to turn to transactional sex to pay for these products. Although Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 are in place to eliminate the issues of period poverty at a global scale, individuals need to recognize and normalize periods worldwide.
The menstrual organization Operation Period works to create a world where menstruation doesn’t hold anyone back. The organization coined the term “menstrual freedom,” the abolition of social, political, economic systems or situational barriers that prohibit individuals from experiencing their periods in an empowered and dignified way. Operation Period and its nationwide chapters have been advocating for menstrual freedom and bringing awareness to the menstrual justice space.
Since 2014, May 28 has been recognized as Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day to bring awareness to menstrual inequity. Recently, Operation Period has coined the month of May as International Period Month. This year, our theme is #PeriodsHaveNoBorders to remind us that menstruators are connected across the globe and that one’s fight is all of our fights.
This year Operation Period is hosting virtual events, discussions, education and advocacy all throughout the month of May for the third annual International Period Month. Please join us for the third annual International Period Month this May!
To keep up with upcoming events:
Follow our Instagram: @operationperiod
Check for updates on our website and the International Period Month website: operationperiod.org, internationalperiodmonth.com
As a recently created organization, the Utah chapter of Operation Period works to distribute menstrual products and educate local areas on menstruation. We also aim to work with organizations and schools in Utah to push for a future of menstrual freedom. If you would like to join or support us, please follow our chapter Instagram @operationperiod.utah and message us!
— Gareema Dhiman & Michelle Jung, Operation Period
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This article was updated on April 29, 2022, to remove information concerning Operation Period’s Young Ambassadors program as the application form has been closed.