GOOD

Imagine #IfMenHadPeriods for World Menstrual Hygiene Day

Over a billion women live without access to clean water and toilets. Would things be different if they were men, instead?

image via youtube screen capture

You probably won’t find greeting cards celebrating May 28th, Menstrual Hygiene Day. People don’t typically throw BBQ's, or gather in a park to watch a Menstrual Hygiene Day fireworks display.


While it may not necessarily occupy the same zeitgeist space as Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, Menstrual Hygiene Day is the one day out of the year where over half of the Earth’s population can come together to celebrate—and promote—proper period care. But for many women, lack of access to basic hygienic necessities like toilets and fresh running water stand in the way of celebrating a bodily function long overdue for widespread appreciation.

To commemorate this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day, and to raise awareness of the over one billion women worldwide without proper menstrual resources, British NGO WaterAid imagined what would happen if it were men, not women, who got their period. How would things change? Take a look:

Speaking with England’s The Daily Mirror, WaterAid CEO Barbara Frost explained:

“Every day 800 million women have their period, and yet most of us consider it an embarrassing and taboo subject. There are even elaborate euphemisms to avoid saying the word ‘period’. So we have had a bit of fun trying to imagine whether attitudes would be different if men had periods.”

On their website, WaterAid points out that “around the world, millions of girls and women lack the clean, safe water and toilets they need to manage their periods. And it’s costing them their health, their education and their dignity.” Even in places where those necessities are largely available, menstruation is still often stigmatized and unfairly penalized. In Australia, for example, “stop taxing my period” has become a rallying cry by activists fighting that country’s lopsided “goods and service” tax on tampons.

WaterAid also polled two thousand women, asking what they believe would happen if men suddenly began menstruating. According to The Mirror:

78% thought that the world of sport would change if men had periods, with 29% agreeing that sports commentators would openly discuss how a player's menstrual cycle would affect their performance. A further 11% thought that coaches and trainers would attempt to coordinate their menstrual cycles and 21% agreed that bookmakers would factor a player's menstrual cycle into their betting odds.

There is, of course, an accompanying hashtag, with which anyone on twitter can offer their take on what the world would be like #IfMenHadPeriods. The organization is also collecting signatures in the hopes of spurring the British government to declare clean water availability a priority, and enact a new set of development goals by the year 2030.

[via Dangerous Minds]

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