They happen to so many of us.
At any given moment, around 800 million people are menstruating.
With this being the case, why is it such a taboo topic?
We shy away, discuss only in hushed tones and experience feelings of inherited embarrassment from our periods.
Isn’t it bizarre to think that although it happens so often and to so many of us, we experience such mortification from it?
We reject the normality and biology of periods instead, experiencing feelings of shame and embarrassment.
The shame and stigma attached to periods and produces a culture of no discussion and the subsequent acceptance of sub-standard products, policies and support.
We don’t discuss our periods, our access to help, and the hygiene products we use.
As a result, this silence has left period products, access to health and policies controlled and commodified by people who have never experienced a period.
Period poverty, a term used to describe a lack of access to feminine hygiene products, occurs globally.
In January of this year, following years of campaigning, the VAT charge of period products was removed in the UK.
The discriminatory tax exemplified the sexist misogyny that is synonymous with women’s health, taxing those who have no choice but to buy menstrual products simply because they menstruate.
The treasury estimated that by removing the period tax, there would be an average of £40 saved per lifetime on period products.
While this offers some hope in the fight for equality, period poverty still affects 10% of women in the UK.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, an estimated 500 million women lacked adequate access or facilities to manage their periods, this worsening following the pandemic.
The stigma attached to periods and the dismissal of their effects leaves those afflicted unlikely to speak up when they need help.
Water Aid’s research found that 54% of British women aged 18-55 experienced challenges managing their periods during lockdowns.
Living below the poverty line, with added financial strain during the pandemic, periods are more than just pain but instead a huge inconvenience.
An inability to manage one’s period can result in poor school attendance, impacting education, time spent missing work, and be detrimental to one’s mental health.
Moreover, periods, when experienced through a culture of stigma and shame, can greatly impact an individuals well-being.
Ruby Raut founded WUKA, a sustainable period pant company, following her experiences with Chhaupaudi.
Born in Nepal, Ruby experienced the demeaning practice of Chhapaudi. Now illegal, this tradition shunned menstruating women into social isolation. Determining periods as impure, Ruby endured this harrowing experience during her first period.
Upon her arrival in the UK, Ruby, an environmental scientist, was compelled to create a period product that was sustainable and empowering. Listed in the 2019 Top 100 Women in Femtech, Ruby understood the importance of creating period wear that was accessible and ethical whilst sustainable and comfortable.
WUKA, aka Wake Up and Kick-Ass, was created to break societal taboos and accelerate sustainability. Founded in 2017, WUKA was the UK’s first-ever reusable and leak-proof period wear.
In the UK alone, 200,000 tonnes of period products are sent to a landfill each year. On a mission to ensure sustainable lifestyles are accessible to all, WUKAs products are responsibly sourced and delivered.
Challenging and dismantling taboos, WUKA, as a response to the stigmatisation of periods, is on a mission to end period poverty and remove the shame surrounding periods. WUKA dismisses the menstrual etiquette we are all expected to follow. Remarkably ethical, WUKA focuses on education to break the taboos surrounding periods underpinned by female empowerment. Dismissing menstrual politeness, WUKA dismisses the double burden imposed on menstruators to keep our periods and their impacts invisible.
Founder Ruby wants all menstruators to feel confident and protected during their period. To break down body and period taboos, WUKA fights to challenge the misogynistic customs and laws that have dismissed the normality of our periods.
Creating meaningful and lasting change, Ruby Raut uses her lived experiences and passions to encourage environmental and societal advancement.
Fighting for an equitable and progressive society, WUKA tackles social inequality, encouraging all to live freely and proudly independent of their periods and the period taboos imposed on us.
Ruby Raut created WUKA to encourage sustainable environmental change and remove taboos from periods. Through her lived experience and passion for environmental and social justice, Ruby disrupts sexist systems and breaks down barriers of accessibility.
Advocating for systemic social change, the WOC led start-up WUKA eradicates menstrual shame and has an ongoing mission campaigning against period poverty whilst fighting for sustainability.
WUKA stands for inclusivity, breaking taboos, encouraging conversations to challenge the status quo, and breaking stereotypes. With a mission to end period poverty for all, WUKA and founder Ruby encompass social and environmental responsibility and passion in all they do.
Actively working towards a more equitable society, WUKA’s wonderfully ethical missions are a cause for celebration, and more importantly, support.
Check out the WUKA website here:
If you are interested in trying some WUKA pants, use the discount code below, exclusive to GirlDreamers
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