Empowering Women through a Period-Shame Free Society

Period-shame is rooted in gender inequality. Cultural and religious traditions around periods are often derived from discriminatory, patriarchal norms about a girl’s status and place in society. In some communities, a girl’s first period is seen as a signal that she is ready for marriage and childbearing.

As a result, girls and women are often expected to refrain from normal activities, such as bathing or cooking and may even be banished from the home and worship environment during their period. These restrictions and negative attitudes towards menstruation affect girls’ self-esteem.

What is the taboo topic of menstruation?

Common period taboos include the idea that women are impure, dirty, unclean or sinful while they’re menstruating. Some women are discouraged from touching or washing their genitals during their periods to eliminate the possibility that they might contaminate the water of a communal bathing area.

In reality, menstrual blood is the same as any other body fluid and bathing regularly prevents bacterial infections.

What are the benefits of a period-shame free society?

By improving menstrual health and tackling period-shame we can improve girls’ attendance and performance at school; break down taboos and misconceptions around menstruation; raise girls’ self-esteem and enable girls to fully participate in all aspects of society.


Queen Mercy Ndubuisi

Founder of the Miriam Ujunwa Girls Foundation and the Africa Phenomenon Representative Leaders.

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