International Women’s day and women’s fight for the basics still continues…
8 March 2018 by Marketing Team
On 8th March every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally to mark women’s achievements in all spheres of life. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Today when women are combatant in the army, flying fighter jets or going into space there are many grass root issues that still exist. Some of these issues are as basic as access to health and hygiene for the women. In rural India, gaps in menstruation hygiene, social stigma, lack of access to affordable sanitary napkins or toilets, and an absence of disposal mechanisms for pads all keep girls away from school.
One of the big sanitary-napkin brands owned by P&G and sold in the Indian sub-continent is called Whisper (sold as Always in the UK), a perfect metaphor for how your period should be spoken of — if you must mention it at all. Women in many parts of the world use old pieces of cloth in place of sanitary napkins, where access to proper menstrual hygiene is still limited and this can cause life-threatening infection to the intestine and death in many cases.
The simple biological fact of menstruation shouldn’t be a barrier to gender equality or stymie women’s and girls’ realisation of their human rights. Many organisations including the UN and Human Rights Watch work along with groups of women and girls to address human rights in menstrual hygiene and spread awareness. A U.N. report confirms that 20 percent of Indian girls drop out of school after reaching puberty; in Nepal there are “menstrual huts” where women are isolated; in sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in every 10 girls misses school during her menstrual cycle.
Education in Kenya
In Kenya, an amendment was made to the Education Act last year. This states “free sufficient and quality sanitary towels must be provided to every girl registered at school”. Despite this, many girls still do not have access to these products. Over the last 3 years, Fisher Jones Greenwood has been collaborating with initiatives called Panties with Purpose and Path to Womanhood to facilitate education on menstrual hygiene and has donated undergarments and sanitary towels to girls in Northern Kenya. For the last two years, the firm has also been sponsoring a girl’s school fees in the Kajiado County of Northern Kenya.
Some organisations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause. In recognition of International Women’s Day, Fisher Jones Greenwood, is collecting unused toiletries and hygiene products across its offices to donate to Beauty Banks, a non-profit organisation which helps individuals living in hygiene poverty. Beauty Banks will then distribute these to their five trusted charity food banks and homeless shelter partners. For more information on our collaborations, please see Path to Womanhood.
Written by Neemah Ahamed and Jharna Kumawat.