How can men support women during the menstruation movement?
When talking about menstruation, menstrual poverty and dismantling the stigmas and taboos that are associated with women/girls and their periods it is completely normal to see women on the front lines letting their voices be heard. Women, young and old, have led movements surrounding menstruation all around the world. Obviously, it’s more than appropriate for an issue that affects women to be talked about by women, but when do men come into the conversation? There are husbands, brothers, uncles and nephews that see second hand what the women they love have to go through; whether it be in first world countries or the most impoverished third world countries across the globe.
Joshua Omanya knows first hand what it’s like to be brought into the conversation, while education young men about menstruation and making them better allies to the women and girls in their lives. Joshua is a Kenyan man that turned his life around after spending some time in prison and facing the death sentence. It was in the moment that he was looking death in the eyes that he knew he wanted and needed to do something different with his life. In his case, this “something different” would be impactful and completely going against the grain of what most men around him would find themselves doing.
After his time in prison, Joshua began working as a trainer at a non-profit organization that provides menstrual products to underprivileged girls and teach kids, both girls and boys, about reproductive rights.
“African men don’t want to hear anything about menstruation or blood and we need to change that,” says Joshua. This isn’t just an issue for men in Africa, but for men across the world. Educators and trainers at the non profit organization that Joshua works at are teaching young men how to talk about periods so that they see them for what they are: a natural function of a woman’s body.
Men like Joshua are working to shift the societal and cultural view of menstruation by adding themselves to the conversation and further destigmatizing menstruation. Things like period poverty aren’t just a women’s issue but a moral issue, which means that men should be raising their voices just as loud as women. With the proper education and knowledge that’s being provided at organizations, men and boys across the world can add to the conversation and stand by the women and girls that they know and love.
So, how can men find ways to add to the conversation? Speak up when it comes to issues surrounding menstruation, period poverty and harmful taboos that have been around for years. Support women and their rights by signing petitions, voicing your opinions to Congress and even attending rallies when you can. Raise awareness whenever you can by letting other men know exactly what women and girls go through. Men can and should stand beside women, not excluding themselves from the conversation but adding to it!
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