For Girls By Girls: Kotex Fights Against Period Stigma By Starting Unfiltered Conversations On Periods

·4-min read

Every day, 800 million women, girls, non-binary people, and trans men around the world menstruate. Whether it is menstruation or menopause – talking about periods has often been a taboo subject. This Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) 2021, Kotex aims to instill confidence and encourage girls to talk about menstruation through the launch of its Unfiltered social video campaign to help break the silence and stigma around menstruation.

Unfiltered spotlights some of the questions around menstruation shared by girls – questions that not too long ago would have been stigmatized to ask in public, something needed even more now as we continue to battle the global COVID-19 pandemic where many girls and women face greater stigma, isolation, and more challenged accessibility to supplies and information.

Kotex
Kotex

Image source: Screengrab from Kotex

The video acts as a catalyst to break the silence, raise awareness and shift the negative social perceptions around menstruation to encourage young girls to feel comfortable talking freely and confidently about their periods.

Featuring a diverse range of girls between the ages of 11-14, the video showcases genuine and relatable questions from these girls about menstruation.

Uniquely, the entire production crew behind the making of this video is female – from the director, producer, sound engineer and stylist.

“The stigma attached to menstruation has kept millions of women and girls from talking about their periods. This Menstrual Hygiene Day, we want to break this and encourage all women and girls to be comfortable when talking about their periods. Today, we are also starting to see a younger generation of girls challenging the stigma. Unfiltered was created to kick-start the conversation by sharing the questions that young girls have about periods, and we hope that this will inspire and encourage millions of other girls to also share their unfiltered questions and start having conversations about their periods with their best friends, their sisters or anyone they feel comfortable with,” said Aparna Gopalakrishnan Dubey, Regional Sector Leader, APAC Feminine care at Kimberly-Clark.

Image source: Screengrab from Kotex

Kotex Menstrual Health and Hygiene Education

Education is key to changing perceptions to break period stigma. For 50 years, Kotex has been supporting Menstrual Health and Hygiene educational programs across Asia Pacific. In 2020, 1.18 million people – youths, parents, educators, and government officials, were reached through the multiple programs running in APAC.

Global partnerships through UNICEF and PLAN International provide a more holistic program where WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) components ensure that common places such as schools and community areas, have adequate facilities to help girls and women manage their periods.

In Taiwan, Kotex piloted the She Can Menstrual Hygiene Education Program last year in partnership with the Education Bureau of Taipei City Government, Teachers’ Association, and Global View Education Foundation. Working with experienced teachers to design the interactive teaching materials to support in-class menstrual hygiene education at junior high schools, the program reached 36,000 girls and boys aged 11-13.

Since 1971, Kotex Korea has partnered with the Korea Nurse Teachers Association on an education program that now reaches more than 800,000 students in a year. Through this partnership, Menstrual Health and Hygiene is incorporated into the overall health education curriculum.

Evolving from an in-class engagement, the program now extends digitally so that youths can refer to it anytime and anywhere. Hosted on various platforms including Naver and YouTube, youths can access videos and a wide range of information from menstrual health to puberty.

In Australia, the U by Kotex Education Program, in its seventh year, has reached 1,000,000 youths across Australia through a full suite of teaching materials, videos, guides and worksheets available and easily accessible both offline and from the U by Kotex website.

Kotex
Kotex

Image source: Screengrab from Kotex

Managing Periods in a Pandemic

In this second year of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the economic and social effects are felt even greater across developed and developing countries, and the regular and open conversation of periods is needed ever more.

Subjects from First Periods, to Common Period Challenges such as managing cramps and body changes, are even harder to discuss as we continue to live through controlled-movement conditions, greater isolation.

As countries continue to control movements, there is also an increase in accessing period products, not to mention, likely a greater demand as more find themselves economically impacted. It is so essential to speak up and share so that girls and women can help and uplift each other across the world.

Let’s talk, period.

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