Campaign breaks silence around periods to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day

Activists want to educate young people about menstruation and put an end to period shaming.

Campaign breaks silence around periods to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day
Florence Igboayaka has written a book for parents and a comic for young boys and girls to reduce period stigma

Campaigners are trying to break the silence on menstruation so that young girls don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed when they get their first period.

It’s to ensure women and girls are able to get the products they need while reducing stigma around periods.

Florence Igboayaka says that she was a timid girl growing up, introduced to periods by her father and surrounded by older brothers.

While she admits her father did try his best, she was left in the dark when it came to menstruation.

To ensure other girls don’t find themselves in her position, she’s written a book for parents as well as a comic for young boys and girls to get the conversation started.

“It’s a natural phenomenon,” she said.

Food bank Cfine has distributed over 16,000 products since last year.
Food bank Cfine has distributed over 16,000 products since last year.

“You shouldn’t especially as a mum, you know what it feels like and you’ve been through it. You should be able to encourage your girl and speak to her. Let her know that it’s okay, because the girl is already scared.

“You shouldn’t feel awkward about it because it’s nothing to feel awkward about.”

Campaigner Eloho Efemuai says it’s important boys are equally informed, to reduce stigma and shaming in schools. She has 11-year-old twins.

She said: “Most of the time when I am speaking to my daughter I get my son involved too because I realise that most of the young guys that were around me were not educated enough to understand what I was going through.”

While period products are free in Scotland, Menstrual Hygiene Day aims to highlight where and when they can be picked up, so that no one goes without.

Food bank Cfine in Aberdeen has distributed over 16,000 products since April last year.

That includes more than 200 charities, 40 doctor surgeries and 60 public buildings.

Florence's book for parents.
Florence’s book for parents.

Sean McVeigh, who runs their campaign, said: “The majority of women will menstruate, there no two ways about it.

“It’s a bodily function, that they don’t have a choice about. If they are living in poverty – there’s an idea that women might instead of buying herself a pack of Tampax or some towels might instead go and buy dinner for her children.”