Menstruation has been for centuries the great taboo around women. It may seem that in the First world There are no longer myths about a circumstance that more or less all women live for a large part of our lives. But news still amazes us from time to time, such as the ban on using public pools during those days We told you a few months ago. The situation is much worse in developing countries. In some of them, in fact, myths around the period border on surrealism.
Afghanistan: lack of hygiene and myths about infertility
In Afghanistan, as in many other third world countries, access to pads and tampons is very difficult for women, which complicates sanitary conditions. The situation becomes even worse considering the myth that exists in the country that washing the genitals during the days when the woman is menstruating causes sterility. The program Wash UNICEF works to alleviate these myths in the Afghan country.
Kenya: lack of adequate sanitary products
In Kenya, as in other countries in Africa, access to medical devices is almost impossible for women, due to their high cost. Therefore, women they use the products they have at their disposal to contain the bleeds: tree leaves, newspaper, padding, fabrics ... The NGO Femme International is dedicated to distributing menstrual cups, in an initiative that has changed the lives of thousands of women.
Burkina Faso and Niger: lack of public toilets
According to statistics provided by UNICEF, 83% of girls in Burkina Faso and 77% in Niger they do not have access to public toilets in schools. If that situation (both inside and outside the school) is complicated on normal days, at times when students have the period they cannot change throughout the day and their hygiene and health are compromised.
Iran: the threat to virginity and the fear of disease
According to a UNICEF study, 48% of Iranian girls consider menstruation a disease. In addition, it is almost impossible to access tampons in Iran, since they are considered a threat to the virginity of girls, which is a matter of crucial importance in the morality and religion of the country. The good news is that Iran is a great example that the awareness works carried out by different NGOs work: a study has shown that 61.6% of girls who received information about sexual hygiene began to wash during the period.
Japan: forbidden to make sushi
Japan is a country that lives halfway between the most absolute modernity and millenary traditions. Sushi, one of the iconic dishes of Japanese cuisine, is a good example of this. There are hardly any female sushi teachers and one of the reasons they claim is that women lose balance in the sense of taste when they are menstruating.
Nepal: confinement and isolation
One of the most terrible examples of women's suffering during the days of menstruation is found in Nepal. More specifically, in the rural areas of the west of the country, where women are isolated during the days of their period. They are usually sent to cabins or 'dark rooms', in which they hardly have adequate sanitary conditionsThey have no human contact and have little protection from external elements. Although this practice was banned more than ten years ago, the reality is that it is still being carried out.
Tanzania and Bangladesh: superstition and curses
Superstitions are sometimes the worst enemies of women while they are menstruating. In Tanzania, for example, it is believed that the person who sees menstrual blood will be cursed, which multiplies the taboo around the period. In Bangladesh, women should bury menstrual cloths after using them to prevent them from attracting evil spirits.
Malawi: the great taboo
The lack of information is one of the great enemies of women's health. Malawi is one of the countries where menstruation is a secret that nobody mentions, according to a report published by UNICEF, which works to create adequate sanitary facilities in schools and groups of mothers who talk openly to their daughters about what menstruation is and what resources they can use to have safe and healthy periods.
Bolivia: blood can cause cancer
The taboo also affects other countries, such as Bolivia, where even compresses and other medical devices are not usually disposed of with other garbage. According to traditional belief, menstrual blood can cause disease, especially cancer, because of what girls usually take with them dirty medical devices, for this reason and for the shame caused by the simple fact of being in those days.
He First world: homeless women
Not only in developing countries do women suffer because of their menses. Women who live on the streets of our cities face, with the rule, an added difficulty to the fact of not having a home. The lack of resources to purchase pads and tampons, the difficulty of accessing bathrooms and showers ... everything causes them to have to fight against an added stigma, which causes hygiene and health problems. In the United States, there are already laws that force hostels to provide compresses and tampons for free, so that no woman has to choose between her feminine hygiene and have a meal to take to her mouth.
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