By RUMBIDZAI MSONZA
Many in the society think that this is not a public issue that must be payed attention and discussed about. This is what leads to increase in the density of the problem.
Every Zimbabwean woman menstruates and not only Zimbabwean but every girl. Woman already bear the pains and uneasiness during their menstrual period and top of that they are least taken care and treated hastily. Menstruation is just a part of a woman’s life which is very essential. Society’s per-spective must change about the menstruation period of a woman and rather support them.
Menstruation is a shared experience among all fe-males, to women they understand what it is like to get a first period, and most females experience the same symptoms. Nevertheless, menstruation is a widely stigmatized issue. A topic that many are uncomfortable to talk about and it is only a topic discussed be-hind closed doors. Culturally, menstruation has led to the development of detrimental beliefs and concepts as women we cannot talk freely and comfortably about our periods.
The stigma that surrounds menstruation has led to the undermining of the agency in women and girls causing inequality. Ever thought of how many girls miss school daily due to their monthly periods? The shame and stigma that women and girls are made to experience during the monthly periods it is disempowering.
Many live without any privacy to wash, or access to safe, clean toilets or even sepa-rate sanitation facilities at work, or in the classroom, or when they’re visiting other public institutions.
Additionally, sanitary hygiene products are often inaccessible or too costly, par-ticularly for those living in poverty and cri-sis situations. The state rarely addresses such issues and one wonder why well the reason is clear enough we cannot make menstruation a public topic, it’s a taboo. Vulnerable women can be forced to use improvised, unhygienic materials that may cause leaking and infection, putting their health at serious risk.
Hygiene-related practices of women dur-ing menstruation are important for a vari-ety of reasons. One of the most pressing is that poor menstrual hygiene management may increase vulnerability to Reproduc-tive Tract Infections (RTI’s). Poor men-strual hygiene management in Zimbabwe, due to inappropriate materials used for blood soaking that may be contaminated by harmful organisms, is a major reason for high prevalence of RTIs in Zimbabwe and it contributes significantly to female mor-tality.
Due to stigma and a lack of sexual educa-tion, menstruation knowledge remains limited leaving many girls with negative and ambivalent feelings and experiencing psycho-social stress, which also impacts their ability to learn, the stigma and shame generated by stereotypes around men-struation have severe impacts on all as-pects of women’s and girls’ human rights.
Menstrual periods are part of every women’s life instead, there is need to start treating women on their periods like ac-tual human beings in pain. The same way people can now freely discuss about sex women and girls should also feel free and safe to talk about menstruation. Men-struation is natural, its not dirty so let’s talk about it .
Rumbidzai Msonza writes on her own and can be contacted on; [firstname.lastname@example.org]