Let’s Fight Against Menstrual Precariousness #France

On the occasion of the International Menstrual Hygiene Day, IAYSP France and the IPOMA Association organized an information and donation gathering on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at the Espace Barrault, Paris.

Many women and girls around the world do not live serenely while on their menstrual period, often because of the taboo surrounding the natural phenomena and also because they, many times, cannot afford to buy adequate menstrual products or the sufficient quantities. As a result, some decide not to go to work or school for several days every month, while others use toilet paper and tissues to protect their underwear. There are also cases where women decide to change their pads/tampons less often during the day to be frugal with their money. In some radical places, menstruating women are discriminated against and considered impure for several days in a month. Unfortunately, they can rarely talk about this issue, even if it puts their mental and physical well-being at risk.

French women and girls are not exempt from the fixed and regular expenses that are not a matter of comfort but necessity. The consequences of menstrual insecurity on health, social life, professional life, and education are undeniable. For some people, behind the purchasing of tampons lies the fear of exclusion and weakening of their self-image.

One of the speakers said, “Even today, one out of ten menstruating students declare that they have already missed work or classes because they are afraid of leaking and that their period will be seen.”

The taboo surrounding menstruation persists to this day. There is a lack of investment in bringing awareness of menstruation and prevention related to gynecological diseases. It is necessary to seek developments in this regard to put an end to this taboo. Fortunately, in French higher education, some initiatives exist but are often local, led by universities or students themselves.

May 28 is a symbolic date as the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and the average duration of menstruation is five days; this is shown in the date as May is the fifth month of the year.

In order to break the taboo surrounding menstruation and fight against menstrual precariousness, IAYSP France organized an event where they collected menstrual and sanitary products in collaboration with the IPOMA Association. These products will be later re-distributed to women in need. Moreover, to promote the importance of healthy menstrual hygiene and create a positive change in their environment, conferences were also organised. Several leaders of associations joined to share their experiences, actions, and efforts in the fight against menstrual insecurity.

Although it has been a thorough theme with diverse views due to the differences among cultures, the day was rich in deep, meaningful, and fruitful exchanges. It was an afternoon to be remembered for a long time.