Menstrual Hygiene is Key to Global Development

When it comes to global development, in working to advance families and breaking the cycle of poverty, women’s empowerment is the key. However, a major obstacle that stands in the way of bringing all women to the forefront is the taboo surrounding the topic of menstruation.

MHDay_banner_blue_FBWomen’s empowerment and feminism are hot topics right now, especially when it comes to creating more educational equity on a global scale. However, no matter how many opportunities we create, women and girls will not be able to take full advantage of those opportunities if menstrual hygiene is not addressed. Periods are the number one reason why girls miss school in developing countries. In Kenya, girls miss an average of 4.9 days of school each month because of a lack of access to adequate menstrual hygiene. That is almost a full week of class, or 25% of one school month. Think about that… because of periods alone, girls are missing almost a whole quarter of their classes.

In many countries, periods can be scary because of what menstruation symbolizes—the transition from being a child to a woman, ready to be a wife and mother. In some other countries, as I have learned, getting your period can be the signifying event that prompts female genital mutilation, child marriage, and dropping out of school.

Inadequate menstrual hygiene management also has negative mental and physical consequences. In India, 70% of reproductive diseases are caused by poor menstrual hygiene, and the effects can go so far as to affect maternal mortality. Unclean methods of maintaining menstrual hygiene caused by a lack of resources, or lack of education on the usage of products, can lead to infections ranging from skin irritation to something more fatal, like toxic shock syndrome. Poor menstrual hygiene management may also cause strange bodily odors and bleeding through one’s clothes, which causes women and girls to feel nervous and self-conscious when on their period.

This taboo around menstruation causes people to associate periods with weakness. A week in their month where girls feel emotionally on edge, in pain with cramps, confused about new food cravings, and worried about bleeding through their clothes. I, myself, before coming to the realization of how human and real it is as a woman to experience periods, identified my time of the month as a weakness.

Women (more so, all humans) deserve to feel confident and ready to reach their full potential, regardless of a biological function. Thus, the stigma surrounding the topic of menstruation is an obstacle standing in the way of the right to reach one’s full potential. Limiting the potential of essentially half of the world’s population due to menstruation is in itself a fundamental barrier to continued global development.

eng_facebook_girls_1This is one of the many reasons why a day like Menstrual Hygiene Day, which is observed every year on May 28th, is so important. Menstrual Hygiene Day raises awareness around menstrual health, the barriers that people who menstruate face, and the effects that inadequate education, sanitation, and understanding about menstruation can have on women and girls all around the world.

We all need to become advocates for menstruation. In the US, only about 20% of our government positions are held by women, and if that 80% who are men are afraid to talk about menstruation, women and girls all around the world will continue to feel silenced and less capable on their periods. It is clear that menstruation impacts more than just one week of each month in a woman’s life. The menstrual movement is a human movement, and it starts now, with all of us—boys, girls, men, women—let’s all give power to the period!

 

 

NadyaNadya Okamoto
Nadya Okamoto is an 18-year-old from Portland, Oregon. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Camions of Care–a global nonprofit organization that strives to address the natural needs of women through advocacy, education, and service. Nadya founded Camions of Care after her family experienced a degree of homelessness, during which she discovered the unaddressed need of menstrual hygiene. Nadya wants people to understand that everyone deserves to have their natural needs met so they feel ready to achieve their full potential. She is also the Youth Director of Social Venture Partners Youth, is on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, PLAN International USA, and is involved in many other school activities around law practice, politics, and gender equality.

  

Providing Period Care for Pader Girls Academy

This past spring, Diva International Inc. partnered with Lunapads in support of their One4Her program in recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day. We committed to donate an AFRIpads Kit (5 reusable pads and 1 carrying bag) for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May. Each kit provides a girl with a sustainable supply of cloth pads to manage her period for over a year.

This year, thanks to our Divas, we were able to go above and beyond our goal of 500 kits with a total of 524 kits to girls in need!pader

These pads were distributed to the child mothers studying at Pader Girls Academy, in Uganda. The young girls who live at PGA have been victims of rape, coercion or abduction (due to Uganda’s 25-year civil war) and have missed the opportunity to continue their education as child mothers are often stigmatized.

However, with its special day care services and opportunity for vocational and secondary education, PGA is a rare opportunity for these strong young women to continue their education, and learn to advocate for themselves and their families.

Recently, Diva International Inc. received a letter from Denis Ongaya, Deputy Program Director of PGA, expressing his thanks for Diva and Lunapads’ help.

On behalf of the management and students of Pader Girls’ Academy, we sincerely appreciate Lunapads and Diva International Inc. for the support extended to the disadvantaged girls in this school. This support will go a long way to enhancing our on-going efforts in improving learning at the school by increasing convenience to the mothers as they attend classes during their menses.

The Afripads kits were distributed to 229 girls in the school each receiving one kit leaving a balance of 295. The balance is still kept at the school and will be distributed to the vocational students expected to report for non-formal learning in third term 2015.

pader2At Diva International Inc., menstrual hygiene management means a lot to us and we believe that all women deserve to manage their period safely and with dignity. All too often, supplies needed for period care are difficult to find due to poverty and limited resources, but thanks to Lunapads and our Divas we were able to supply these much needed supplies to the young women at PGA.

But the fight is not over. Please take some time to learn about Menstrual Hygiene Day and how you can work to fight poverty, menstrual taboos and how to ensure that women around the world can receive the basic needs they deserve. Together we can show the world that #MenstruationMatters!

Help change a young girl’s life by donating to Pads4Girls or shop to support One4Her today!

 

 

 

 

One4Her provides basic needs to the Pader Girls Academy

photo11823On October 11th, organizations from around the world will come together to draw awareness to International Day of the Girl. This day is set aside each October to advocate for the basic needs and rights of girls and to encourage participation in efforts to help girls reach their full potential.

Diva International works with various organizations to help ensure that all girls, no matter where they live, have access to basic rights – food, clean water, shelter, education and hygiene (including access to feminine hygiene protection). Since 2000, one of our partners, Lunapads has been providing girls with sustainable period care through their Pads4Girls program. Period care is a necessity for women and girls, but is often not accessible due to poverty and limited resources.

This past spring, Diva International Inc. partnered with Lunapads in support of their One4Her program in recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day. We committed to donate an AFRIpads Kit (complete with 2 pads with 5 inserts, plus 1 carrying bag) for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May. Each kit provides a girl with a sustainable supply of cloth pads to manage her period for over a year.

Thanks to our Divas, we were able to pledge funds that totaled 443 kits to girls in need!

This summer Lunapads received a request from Maggie Crosby, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, in the School of Public Health, who was working at the Pader Girls’ Academy (PGA) in Uganda. Knowing about Lunapads and their One4Her program, Maggie requested a more comprehensive AFRIpads for the 250 young mothers at PGA that also included underwear (most girls don’t even own a pair) and soap. After reviewing Maggie’s request, Lunapads and Diva International were pleased to use the funds raised from the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign to send 250 comprehensive AFRIpad kits to the young women at PGA.

PGA helps child mothers by making it possible for them to bring their child with them to school. This is unique in Uganda, as often child mothers are stigmatized and going back to school is not an option for them. A survey was conducted to see what the girls would need when it comes to self-care and hygiene and most of the girls requested soap, underwear and pads.

Such basic needs.

The young girls who live at PGA have been victims of rape, coercion or abduction (due to Uganda’s 25-year civil war). At PGA they have been given a rare opportunity to continue their studies while raising their babies in a safe place. These are strong young women who have overcome many challenges, and who are learning to advocate for themselves and their families.

The following is a brief recap from Maggie about how your support of the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign has helped women at PGA live better, healthier lives.

PGA 1What do the young mothers currently use to manage their period? How does it affect their schooling when they have their period?

Most girls at PGA use rags or old t-shirts to stuff in their underwear during their period. They do not have any money to afford disposable pads and many cannot even afford underwear. Because of this, if their period soaks through their clothing, they may skip classes to avoid the embarrassment. Each student that I asked about this issue during my time at PGA this summer replied that their lack of hygiene necessities negatively impacts their studies. When asked “what information or resources, relating to sexual and reproductive health, would be most useful to you?” the number one response was “pads”.

The effect of menstruation is so stigmatising on the young mothers. Many of the girls often disassociate themselves from the rest of the students until their period is over, which has a big impact on her performance at the end of the term.

PGA 2How will life improve for them to have the kits?

Owning reusable pads, underwear and soap will have a positive impact on the lives of PGA students. These young women have been robbed of their innocence and their agency – poverty happens to them, sex happens to them, pregnancy happens to them. Possessing the necessary resources for dealing with their periods will provide them with a measure of control over at least one aspect of their life.

Having the kits will also save the girls from a number of negative outcomes of menstruation (a) worries during periods, (b) use of unclean clothes during periods, (c) further infections during periods as a result of using dirty clothes. This will lead to improved performance of the students at school as such better ground for sustainability of the school.

What are their hopes and dreams in going to school?

Students in the vocational training program hope to become seamstresses, to work in hotels or restaurants, or to start their own bakeries or catering businesses. Secondary school students mostly aim to continue their studies in nursing or teaching. They want to be nurses to provide adequate support and care to young mothers and they want to be teachers they can encourage girls to enrol and complete both primary and secondary education. One student told me that she hopes one day to be a member of parliament.

While we still have many girls who are blocked from attaining their educational career due to re-current pregnancies, most girls who have attained admissions at schools demonstrate commitment in their studies.

Help change a young girl’s life by donating to Pads4Girls or shop to support One4Her today!

 

one4herPads4Girls

Since 2000, Lunapads has been operating Pads4Girls, a program that addresses an issue faced by hundreds of millions of girls and women in developing nations: missing school or work for several days every month because they lack adequate means to manage their periods. Providing girls with sustainable menstrual supplies is a simple yet highly effective way to give them a chance for a better future.

In 2012 Lunapads partnered with AFRIpads, a social enterprise in Uganda, to create One4Her. For every eligible product purchased, Lunapads matches that purchase by financing the production and donation of a Ugandan-made AFRIpad to a girl in East Africa.

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management 101

MHDI first learned about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in grad school. A core class in the program centered on global issues and when it came time to writing my final paper, I wanted to tie my research topic on fem hygiene advertising to the theories of the class. I was surprised to learn that there was an entire field of research dedicated to menstrual health and feminine hygiene in the developing world. And even more surprised that I was never taught about the lack of care and support women receive when it comes to their periods.

Within just a few hours of research, I realized just how limited my viewpoint was on the topic of menstrual care internationally. It’s a topic we don’t often hear about, but one that deserves both our attention and resources.

As a new topic for many, the Diva Team thought to take some time to talk about some of the basics of MHM.

According to Wash Untied,

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) starts with the articulation, awareness, and information about menstruation and menstrual hygiene practices.  Women and girls should be able to manage the period in safety, privacy and dignity by i) having  access to and using hygienic materials together with ii) the provision of adequate water and soap for washing and bathing and iii) assuring adequate collection and safe disposal of sanitary products – at home, schools/colleges, institutions, workplace and in public places.

Consider these facts:

  1. A little over half of the world’s female population is of reproductive age and experience a cycle that last between 5-7 days.
  2. In regions where women do not have access to feminine hygiene products, rags, dry leaves, newspaper etc. are often used to manage flow.
  3. UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls miss school during menses, which often leads to a higher dropout rate and missed opportunity.
  4. In countries like Bangladesh, female garment workers are reporting to miss up to 6 days of work because they do not have a way to care for their period.
  5. Many girls in developing countries are not educated about puberty or the menstrual cycle.
  6. In North America women throw away 11,000 tampons/pads throughout their menstruating years – yikes! Many developing countries do not have proper waste disposal infrastructure, which leads to an increase in public waste and hygienic concerns. For this reason reusable options like cloth pads and menstrual cups (where access to clean water and soap is readily available) are ideal solutions for women everywhere.
  7. Taboos surrounding menstruation are still prevalent in countries around the world. For example, 48 % of girls in Iran and 10 % of girls in India believe that menstruation is a disease.

What we can gather from these insights is that MHM is fundamental to advancing education, ensuring health, strengthening the economy, protecting the environment, realizing human rights and changing attitudes of both (men and women).

You can learn more about these key areas by viewing these fact sheets put together by Wash United. We want to welcome all our Divas to play a part in spreading the world about MHM.

On May 28th, 2014 we will be participating in the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day and you can too! Organized by Wash United, and together with over 100 partners from around the globe, MHD is a global effort to draw attention the women’s right to hygienically manage their periods, no matter where they live.

AFRIpadsIn recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day, Diva International Inc. has partnered with Lunapads and their One4Her program and have committed to donate an AFRIpads kit for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May (up to 500 kits). To date we have been able to provide over 250 girls with a better way to care for her period for over a year! Help us reach 500 by buying a DivaCup for you or a friend today!

You can also get involved in MHD by sharing the many resources put together by the team at Wash United. Share the MHD infographic and #MenstruationMatters sign to your Facebook or Twitter profile, make a conversation starter bracelet or attend an event! You can also show your support beyond MHD, whether financially or through your time, by giving to one of the incredible organizations who are helping to provide women and girls with accessible and affordable menstrual hygiene products.

Reference Guide: All facts were drawn from the Menstrual Hygiene Day Fact Sheets produced by Wash United. View them here.
1. Menstrual Hygiene Matters. WaterAid, 2012
2. Torondel & Sumpter, 2013
3. Africanews, Sanitary Towels for Kenyan Teenage Schools Girls, 2011. 7. IBID
4. Her Project, Female Factory Workers’ Health Needs Assessment: Bangladesh, 2010
5. Dasgupta & Sarkar, Menstrual Hygiene: How Hygienic is the Adolescent Girl? 2008
6. National Research Center for Women & Families, Tampon Safety, 2010
7. WSSCC, A tide of change in India, 2012

Inspiring Change…

banner---handsThis past weekend women worldwide joined together to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was “Inspiring Change” and the stories and events that surrounded the day were filled with inspiration for a better future (and present day) for women and girls everywhere.

Observed since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day has grown into a worldwide movement with over 1300 scheduled events in 2014 across 78 countries! The Diva Team celebrated the days leading up to International Women’s Day with daily giveaways and organizational spotlights.

With each day’s giveaway our Facebook fans had the opportunity to share what they loved most about being a woman! We received over 600 entries! A few of our favorites include:

“I love being a woman because… I can carry new life inside of me.” – Angie

 

“I love being a woman because… I am beautiful, intelligent and talented!” – Sonia

“I love being a woman because… there’s no limit to what I can do.” – Katie

 

“I love being a woman because… my body is amazing from head to toe!” – Toby

“I love being a woman because… I have awesome curves!” – Jo

 

Each day we also highlighted the great work of organizations whose projects are inspiring change including reproductive education programs, maternal health initiatives, reusable cloth pad distribution and clinical research. Organizations like Plan Canada, the Institute for Reproductive Health, Lunapads’ Pads4Girls Program, Endometriosis Foundation of America and Save the Children are just a few of the many organizations Diva helps to support each year through financial aid and/or social media support.

As we continue with the month’s events we want to encourage all our Divas to do their part in inspiring change for women and girls everywhere, not just today, but everyday. Start small, every little bit counts!

Share how you celebrated International Women’s Day with the Diva Community today!

Francine-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Dance in Support of V-Day!

Diva is excited for Valentine’s Day! We love the chocolates, the sweet love notes and romantic surprises, but above all, we love the reminder the day gives us: to love, respect and care for those we love.

vdayutvs_web (1)In addition to February 14th being widely known as Valentine’s Day, more and more it’s recognized as V-Day – a day that holds the potential and inspiration to change women’s lives for the good through the ONE BILLION RISING campaign.

Founded by playwright Eve Ensler, best known for the award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, V-Day is a global call to action for men, women and children to join together on Valentine’s Day to draw awareness to violence against women and to work towards change.

V-Day events are hosted around public places – places where women should feel safe, have access and feel welcome. People join together, most often through dance, cheers and performance to show the world “what justice looks like!”. Each V-Day we love seeing the impact and positive ripple effect that comes from the many events planned in support of V-Day!

coj_webMore and more people are joining the day’s events. Musicians like Pink are using their talents to empower women to work toward change, drawing attention to the pain, abuse and inequality women and girls around the globe face daily. Campuses are holding performances of the Vagina Monologues with proceeds going to support local women’s shelters and community centers. Projects like City of Joy in Congo are providing women with a safe space to receive counselling and support needed to move forward from past trauma. And every year organizations like Diva International Inc, donate products for raffle, helping to raise much needed funds for organizations that are helping women overcome injustice.

Last February 14, 2013, ONE BILLION RISING was the biggest mass action in human history when people in 207 countries came together to dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women. 

This Valentine’s Day show your support for V-Day by dancing for justice, attending a performance or holding your own V-Day awareness event! You can also be involved throughout the year with V Girls, a global network inspired by Eve Ensler’s book I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls, which is dedicated to helping the voices of young girls be heard.

You can also share why you are rising, why you are standing up for women’s rights, equality and fair treatment through image and words on the ONE BILLION RISING webpage.

Lastly, show your support by attending an event!

Q & A with the Lunagals

Earlier this month DivaCup co-founders, Francine and Carinne Chambers had an opportunity to talk with Lunapads co-founder Madeleine Shaw about period care, the incredible program Pads4Girls and the many wonderful moments of female entrepreneurship. Join the conversation by reading our post below and sharing it with the Divas in your life!

Can you share a bit about the history of Lunapads?

I started developing Lunapads and Lunapanties in 1993 when I realized that the recurrent vaginal infections I was experiencing were starting within a few hours of the onset of my periods (ie putting in a tampon). Until then I had been exclusively a tampon user, and was unwilling to switch to disposable pads, which had always seemed wasteful and bulky to me. Having a background in fashion design, I decided to sew my own cloth pads and padded panties.

LunapadsWebsiteUsing something comfortable and pretty to manage my flow, as well as going through the previously unimaginable experience of washing and reusing rather than throwing away the products showed me that rather than being gross and inconvenient, my period was actually really cool and worth paying attention to.

I noticed that I started feeling better about my body in general, and even started learning about my cycle and its relationship to the lunar cycle. Periods for me basically went from being a messy chore to being something special, so I decided to commercialize the products in the hope that this would also be true for others who tried them.

My business partner Suzanne and I met at a community leadership course in 1999. Realizing that we shared a dream for healthier women and a healthier planet, we combined our talents to grow Lunapads into the brand it is today.

Although there are many, if you had to pick just one, what aspect of sustainable menstrual care do feel is most important?

While Lunapads definitely came out of the desire to address a specific health concern, I feel like sustainable menstrual products support women’s health and wellness in many other ways as well: by creating a cleaner environment, as well as sending more positive messages about our periods and bodies that in turn support self-esteem.

Have you encountered any barriers to launching a new femcare product and business within an already established industry?

Definitely, and yet one of the advantages is that sustainable innovations like Lunapads, Lunapanties and The DivaCup are just flat-out so much better than disposables. Put another way: I have yet to hear a customer tell me how much she loves the disposable products she is currently using – they are as drying and uncomfortable as they have ever been, so all we really need to do is address the perception that dealing with your menses instead of throwing it away is taboo. Not that that’s always easy, but the feedback that we get again and again is that it wasn’t a huge deal, and, as was the case for me, changing how you think about it can be liberating and help us to love ourselves more, which is light years away from what any disposable product can do

What inspired you to start Pads4Girls?

Our mission with Pads4Girls is to support education for girls in developing nations by providing them with sustainable, affordable menstrual products. The program also supports economic empowerment for women by supporting locally-based padmaking initiatives.

one4herInitially, the idea grew from a letter we received in 2000 from a Zimbabwean/Canadian woman, who informed us that girls and women there had little or nothing to help them manage their menses and asked us whether we could send over some Lunapads.

Lack of access to menstrual products affects millions of girls in the developing world. As many as 10% of girls miss school because of it. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education, thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy, as well as limiting career options.

In many communities, disposable products are impossibly expensive or simply unavailable. Providing reusable products means the burden of purchasing products each month is removed and the environmental devastation that thousands of disposable pads would have on the landscape is alleviated.

Can you explain how Pads4Girls works?

Since 2000, we have been providing school girls with washable menstrual pads and underwear that, like Lunapads, will last them for years. During the following years, we would either make the pads and panties ourselves, or gather pads made by customers and supporters, and send them to whoever asked for them.

LunapadsAFRIpadsIn 2008 things changed when we were approached by two development aid workers in Uganda who had come across Lunapads via a volunteer from Vancouver: they asked us if they could copy the products and start a business there selling them. We said yes, and today AFRIpads employs 65 people!

Following our trip to Uganda in January 2012 we launched our One4Her program. Similar to the TOMS Shoes model, with eligible purchases of Lunapads, we provide girls with AFRIpads. Since its launch, in partnership with dozens of groups, individuals and NGOs, Pads4Girls and One4Her have reached over 120,000 girls and women in 15 nations with supplies, giving them immediate and practical means to have a better future.

How does One4Her empower women? 

One of the things of which we are proudest (and that also happens to make total business sense!) is that One4Her supports economic empowerment for women. In the beginning, we used to make all the pads and panties here in Vancouver and send them where they were needed. Which was great for the girls who received them, however expensive and inefficient.

Working with AFRIpads, the pads are made in Uganda using local labour, which creates employment, as well as increasing the capacity to provide more pads since we are no longer paying to have them made and shipped from Canada.

When we went to Uganda and visited AFRIpads, the workers each wrote us a personal letter telling us how their lives have changed thanks to having a job – they are now able to send their kids to school, buy homes and livestock, and even start their own businesses. This in turn raises their overall status as women in their communities, giving them greater power and respect.

What period care options are viable options for the regions you work with? 

We are excited about the increasing variety of choices becoming available as awareness of the Menstrual Health Management (MHM) issue grows, including sustainable disposable, as well as reusable, options. We work with each group individually to assess things like water availability, social taboos, and whether or not the girls or women have underwear to determine which options are best for any given population.

How can our Diva Community support your programs?

You’re doing it right now! We love the Diva Community, and are proud to count Francine and Carinne as treasured longtime friends and colleagues. Liking Lunapads and Pads4Girls on Facebook (as well as following @lunapads and @pads4girls on Twitter) is a great place to start. You can also support Pads4Girls directly by donating here.

Where do you see Lunapads in ten years?

We are doing a ton of behind-the-scenes product development at Lunapads right now, as well as thinking about other ways to support reproductive wellness and body needs from menarche to menopause and beyond.

Our legacy will be that the next generations of girls are more fully aware of their options and choose healthier and more natural choices for themselves. We want girls to be as shame-free about their bodies as possible, and to grow up to be healthy, empowered adults

What advice would you give to women looking to start a business?

We always tell people to choose something that you’re passionate about, because being an entrepreneur is not always as easy road, so you want to make sure that what you’re going to be spending so much time and effort on truly matters to you. We are also big proponents of business partnerships: doing it solo can be tough, so finding someone with complementary skills who shares your dream is a big asset.

Lunapads co-founders Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens

SuzanneSiemens-MadeleineShaMadeline and Suzanne are well-known social entrepreneurs and longtime DivaCup fans and distributors. Their business success in the sustainable menstrual care world has also brought them an opportunity to make a unique difference in supporting education for girls in the developing world with their Pads4Girls and One4Her initiatives.

 

 

Making Menstruation Matter

Last weekend, Diva International had the privilege of attending the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) Biennial Conference in New York City, NY. This year’s theme was “Making Menstruation Matter” with a call going out to all those working in the field to draw awareness to the importance of menstrual health education, advocacy and media coverage.

SocietySMCR was founded as a non-profit organization in 1979 by a group of woman who were passionate about highlighting the menstrual cycle in research, education and public discussion. Today the society has expanded to include academics, artists, writers, activists and educators.

Diva International had the honor of co-sponsoring the Making Menstruation Matter award presentation for Feminist pioneer, Gloria Steinem which honored her efforts in drawing awareness to women’s health and her 1978 piece, “If Men Could Menstruate”.

The conference was rich in menstrual health knowledge. Every presenter was passionate about their research. Topics ranged from inclusion of menstrual health in public education, reproductive aging, organocholrine in tampons, pros and cons of contraceptives, period talk within the family and the presence of menstrual culture within social media… to name a few. In between presentations, through the hallways and in the hotel lobby, there was much discussion and brainstorming on how we can all work together to “Make Menstruation Matter”! Attendees also got to enjoy and participate in the first ever menstrual poetry slam titled, Red Moon Howl!

SMCR 2013 Attendees

SMCR 2013 Attendees

We got to hear firsthand about the projects organizations like Wash United, Water Aid and Sustainable Health Enterprises are developing. Organizations like these are helping to bring access to clean water and feminine hygiene products for women in developing nations. We also had the opportunity to learn about Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day dedicated to drawing awareness to access and support in the area of feminine hygiene and international development. We hope that all our Diva fans will join us in the months leading up to May 28th, 2014 to spread the word about the need for every woman and girl to have access to period care.

As we reflect on the conference we wanted to share some of the ways The DivaCup is helping to Make Menstruation Matter!

  • We distribute demo DivaCups to health educators and doctors along with resources about sustainable menstrual care.
  • We continue to promote positive period talk with our educational partners Be Prepared Period, Sexpressions and You Are Loved.
  • We donate product and resources to community organizations and events to assist with raising funds for women’s health and the environment.
  • Every day, we provide information about healthy menstruation, women’s health and positive period care through our social media channels and website.
  • We promote healthy menstruation and cycle awareness for women of all ages through our partnership with charting organizations like PinkPad, MyMonthlyCycles and Feby Empowerment.
  • Above all, our team works hard to ensure that our products, The DivaCup and DivaWash are readily available so that women and girls around the world can learn and have access to sustainable menstrual care.

Learn more about the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research by visiting their website, liking their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter. You can also follow their blog re-Cycling which features weekly insights on reproductive health and guest posts by scholars, activists, artists and health educators.

Share with the Diva Community what you are doing to “Make Menstruation Matter” today!

 

Diva Education is…

Educating girls and women to make informed decisions about their period care!

Empowering girls and women with a better, eco-friendly and cost-saving period care solution to tampons and pads.

Encouraging girls and women to take an active role in caring for their menstrual cycle through cycle knowledge, menstrual education and charting options.

Equipping girls and women with the knowledge and tools they need to be proud of their bodies, their health and about being a woman.

Diva Education is helping to change the way women (and men) view period care and the menstrual cycle for good!

But we cannot achieve our goals without the support of health professionals and educators.

health practicioners-350pixIn the last few months we have been given the opportunity to share The DivaCup with thousands of health professionals and educators from both the United States and Canada. We’ve spoken to teachers, coaches, family physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and many more. Each conversation is filled with questions, excitement and acceptance. Many of the professionals we talk to are hearing about The DivaCup for the first time and are excited to try The DivaCup themselves or introduce it to their students, patients, daughter, sister, colleague or friend.

Although not the most popular subject in school, health class is mandatory and often an uncomfortable experience for both students and teachers. From our experience talking with health professionals “period talk” is one of the most common discussions that take place in these classrooms. Women are curious, concerned or confused about the day-to-day experiences of the menstrual cycle and answers and assurance is what we hope to offer them.

As a leader in the menstrual cup category, we are working to ensure health professionals and educators receive the knowledge, tools and support they need to make “period talk” better for young girls everywhere. We annually donate thousands of demo DivaCups and literature to schools, medical practitioners and organizations committed to improving women’s health across North America and Internationally.

Diva-101-ChalkboardBy introducing sustainable period care as an option, young women will be given the opportunity to decide for themselves what product is right for them. By partnering with health educators and cycle charting organizations and integrating these into classrooms settings, young women will be better prepared to care for their periods and overall health. And by assisting professionals with product and curriculum support, teachers will have the opportunity to introduce new and exciting information to the topic of menstrual health, creating a better learning experience overall.

In the coming months we will introduce a number of initiates including, classroom lesson plans, a college/university campus kit and a support portal for health professionals and educators on our website.

Does your school, doctor’s office or local pharmacy know about The DivaCup?

Share this post with them today or pass along our email (info@divacup.com) or Resource Request Order Form and we will ship out a Resource Kit to them today!