It is only in recent times that discussing our menstrual cycles has become ‘acceptable’ (and even then it can depend on with whom the discussion is being held). It has often been looked upon as a taboo subject and is a time of month that many women feel uncomfortable, unclean, and restricted from doing the things they enjoy. I dare say very few women would admit that they ‘enjoy’ the onset of their menstrual cycle, however, at least most of us have access to clean bathrooms, fresh underwear, and a proliferation of sanitary items to choose from.
But what about homeless women? These women do not have the privacy and cleanliness of their own bathroom, and many certainly don’t have any form of sanitary protection. Being caught ‘unawares’ is embarrassing enough for me, let alone if I had no home or was in a shelter with no access or way of purchasing much needed protection.
The good news is that there are ways to help women across Australia who are battling this situation. Two organisations that have recently been established include the Melbourne Period Project, and Share the Dignity. The goal of these foundations is to get packs of sanitary and hygiene items into the hands of the most disadvantaged women across the nation.
So how can you help? Maybe you have just purchased a menstrual cup and now have surplus unused sanitary items that you no longer need. Both these organisations have several drop off points where you can donate your surplus supplies, or donate supplies you have purchased specifically for the cause. If you are unable to get to a drop off point, you can always post the items, or contribute with a financial donation.
Through your donations, you are helping to give disadvantaged women dignity when they have their period. You also take away the burden they may feel of choosing between whether to eat or purchase sanitary products. Finally, you are helping bring down the barriers that society has held regarding this normal part of a woman’s life and journey.