Tackling the taboo: Calls for better education on periods

New schools project aims to open up conversation around periods and other gynaecological health issues.

Tackling the taboo: Calls for better education on periods

A new campaign group has been set up to call for better educational resources about periods in Scottish schools. 

Fledgling social enterprise Bloody Amazing aims to help teachers give girls better support – and smash the stigma which still lingers around women’s health issues. 

Bloody Amazing was set up by special needs teacher Livvi Brooks, who has teamed up with others who feel strongly about the subject. 

Livvi told STV News: “Since I set up the Facebook page I actually got a couple of messages from male primary teachers who said that they have been tasked with delivering something on periods to a group of primary 7 girls and they have no idea where to start.

“If there was something for them to pick from, they [could] have that conversation.” 

Livvi has teamed up with fellow teachers who believe period education has a place across the curriculum – not just in guidance lessons. 

Louise Kennedy-Darroch said: “Modern studies could talk about period poverty, PE could talk about the different effect that your hormones have on your strength, science could talk about the pragmatics of it all, English could talk about the use of language, Drama could do some sort of performance.

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“It’s not maybe enough for us to say ‘we didn’t get this, we want something’, but to ask young people, ‘well what do you want to know, what don’t you know, what do you want to be armed with?’”

The women of Bloody Amazing also want to raise awareness of other gynaecological health issues. 

Amy Griffin’s sister Lisa was just 28 when she died of cervical cancer.

“Just to watch my mum and dad go through that – I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it, it’s really horrible,” she said. 

“I feel that the schools should also be teaching the importance of going for your smear test. If people were taught in school, and told that it wasn’t this terrifying thing that’s going to be excruciatingly painful, then more people would go and get them rather than putting them off.” 

Honest and frank discussions around issues like those are the trademark of The Well HQ, which focuses exclusively on women’s health. 

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This week sport scientist Dr Emma Ross and former rower Baz Moffat brought their Sport in Her Shoes event to Edinburgh, covering everything from the menstrual cycle and the pelvic floor to nutrition. 

Independent school Mary Erskine was the first in Scotland to host this conference, inviting pupils from schools across the city – and it was well received.  

Mary Erskine S3 pupil Ellie Miller said: “I didn’t really think with my sporting schedule, how it affects my cycle, so I think I might try using an app now to try and work out how to use it better.” 

Her classmate Ann Njoroge told STV: “It was amazing, there’s a lot of stuff that I learned, and other stuff that I know I can now use.” 

Jess Taylor, who is in S4 at Tynecastle High, said: “It’s been harder for women, especially to do sports, and it’s good to learn that there are ways to fix it.”

Nichola Aitchison, head of PE, said: “We’re aware of our privileged position here but it’s not about that. 

“Right from the start when we were planning this, it was about getting this message to as many people as we could, and having that with visiting pupils in the room, but also their teachers, coaches, people from different parts of the sporting world in Scotland coming and just starting to spread that word.”