Sofia Helin: Let’s talk about periods. Women should be proud of them, not ashamed

Periods are a natural process experienced by half the world’s population; they are a sign of life. So, why is the subject cloaked in secrecy and shame? I’m sure all women have faced the embarrassment of awkward period dramas, like being caught without a pad or tampon in a time of need. In these circumstances, should we feel embarrassed to ask a stranger to help us out?
And on a broader scale, the fact that people don’t talk about their periods is having a huge impact on women and girls around the world. One in three women have no access to a decent toilet, which is especially challenging during their period. If there isn’t one in schools, girls are more likely to miss classes or drop out altogether once they start their periods.
Period poverty is an issue we’ve seen in developed countries as well, and in the UK it is one that is starting to be taken seriously, thanks to the hard work of some amazing campaigners who are unashamedly making a noise about it. But we need this kind of action on a global scale. WaterAid is calling on women and men everywhere to talk about periods today on Menstrual Hygiene Day as part of its Period Proud campaign, to address the lack of accurate information and remove the stigma and taboos.

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