Ellie Gavin || Campus Life Editor
Reporting by Kimberly Givant
This past Friday, March 27th, The Human Rights Initiative hosted “Power to the Period” at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.
The event is part of a project led by the Human Rights Initiative to debunk stigmas and communicate openly about menstruation. The group is also raising money to send period kits to underprivileged girls in Nepal, a project that was inspired by two of the initiatives leaders, Shrima Pandey and Priyankana Bastola, who are both from Nepal.
“Power to the Period” was an informal discussion in which girls were welcome to discuss their own experiences with their periods and how others have made them feel about menstruation. The group also read some relevant literature on the topic, including passages from the memoir “Lucky” by Alice Sebold, and the book “Her Blood is Gold” by Lara Owen, as well as the short essay, “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem.
Pandey and Bastola offered insight into the menstruation experiences of girls in Nepal. Pandey and Bastola explained that sometimes, when menstruating, the women are forced to stay hidden away in sheds. Too often, this leads to the girl being raped and then being shamed and blamed for it, and then being seen as tainted, impure, and unmarriable.
The group also discussed how, all too often, educating girls about their period becomes more of a lesson on how to hide the period, rather than an actual lesson about the period itself and what is happening in the body, and how this fosters an environment in which girls feel shamed.
Many of the women in attendance expressed the sentiment that the way women learn about their bodies, sex, menstruation, their sexuality, and menopause needs to be more open, more honest, and most importantly, more proud.