Girls should not be ashamed of their periods

Students at the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration at St Joseph's Secondary School, Waimanu Road, Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

Women and girls face a lot of challenges when it comes to menstruation if they do not have proper access to sanitary products.

For most cultures, it is a taboo to discuss menstruation openly, this leads to young girls confusion when they have their period for the first time.

For most young women, menstruation is either learned in school or through a brief discussion with their mothers at home.

In the Pacific, adolescent girls, women and gender diverse people who menstruate experience fear, shame and discrimination, as well as practical challenges like lack of menstrual products, water and sanitation infrastructure or health services to managing menstruation.

Having your cycle for the first time must not make you feel ashamed or bad as it is part of nature for every young women’s life.

According to on the 2020 Pacific Menstrual Health Network for raising voices on menstrual health, women’s group, gender equality activists and social enterprise brought their voices together and established network.

Periods don’t stop in emergencies and these campaigns are pointing the spotlight on the unique experiences and challenges in the Pacific, and the challenge of increasing emergencies and the impact on women and girls lives.

The formation of the network is being led by local civil society, social enterprise and small business in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa.

For women and girls with disabilities, this can be even harder with added stigma due to disability, or inaccessible infrastructure and services.

These challenges negatively impact on health, participation at school, work and in daily life.

Across the globe, there are emerging regional and national movements and coalitions to advocate governments and donors for improved menstrual health and rights.

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