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Artículo This 'angry feminist' is helping asylum-seekers have more dignified periods Culture

Culture

This 'angry feminist' is helping asylum-seekers have more dignified periods

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Playground Redaccion

18 Agosto 2017 16:16

A charity that helps asylum-seekers and underprivileged women have bloody good periods

By Anna Freeman

You would be hard pressed to find any woman who would say that they enjoy getting their periods, but on the most part, they’re just a big, bloody nuisance.

However, for those living on the poverty line, that time of the month is a dreaded experience. That’s why Gabby Edlin, a social change guru based in London, decided to help disadvantaged women one sanitary towel at a time. She founded Bloody Good Period, a charity that collects feminine hygiene products - mostly sanitary pads, but also tampons, wet wipes and shower gel - to dispense to predominantly asylum-seeking women at two drop-in centres in the UK capital.

‘We all have vaginas and we all get periods, it’s ridiculous that women still can’t access basic sanitary products,” Edlin tells PlayGround+. ‘It’s a really big crisis, but politicians don’t listen and it continues to go unchecked. But luckily there are many angry feminists out there like me working to end period poverty! It’s typical, women once again are cleaning up the mess.
Period poverty is the hidden side of deprivation that isn’t given the immediacy it deserves. Asylum-seekers are given a measly £36 per week in the UK to live on and are unable to work while their asylum claims are processed. The added expense of being female serves a serious blow to women surviving on the bare minimum, and, according to Edlin, these women often result to using broken bits of fabric, tissue, or nothing at all to stem the flow of blood during menstruation. The idea for Bloody Good Period came to Edlin while she was previously volunteering at the New London Synagogue’s asylum-seekers drop-off centre. ‘There were never any sanitary products handed out, which is just ridiculous,’ she says, ‘I would put the need for sanitary products on the same level as food and water. They happen every month, so it’s a necessity!’ After a quick call-out to her friends on Facebook for sanitary products, Edlin was overwhelmed by the response, and her own project grew from there. ‘Social media has been absolutely amazing!’ she beams. ‘There are other charities working on the same issue, but we want to make sure all women feel welcome to come along to our drop-ins and to not feel ashamed.
Edlin and her team are now also pushing to become the most trans-inclusive period charity out there. Although the move is still in its early phases, a team of consultants will soon be asked to advise about the specific issues facing transgender and nonbinary individuals. ‘We’re not up on all the facts just yet,’ Edlin admits, ‘but we want to be!’

Happy Pride to our pals, volunteers, recipients and supporters. We love you. #pride #periods

A post shared by Bloody Good Period. ?️‍? (@bloodygoodperiod) on

The fight to end period poverty has started to gain momentum, but Edlin believes that plain old sexism is the root cause of the problem. ‘If men had periods then it would have been given the centrality it deserves,’ she says, ‘I don’t think anybody can say that they don’t think periods are important.’ For asylum-seeking women in particular, patterns of shame feed into the vicious cycle of seeking help with their periods, and sometimes cultural differences play their part. But, it’s not only patriarchal structures that dictate the rhetoric surrounding menstruation. Sanitary companies and advertising agencies perpetuate the idea that bleeding for women is something to be hidden away, avoided at all costs, and swept under the rug until the following month. Although sanitary companies donate products to various period charities, Edlin argues that they’re not doing enough, and that ‘they’re selling shame and still making the subject taboo’.
There are big plans in Bloody Good Period’s future. The team will be putting on community events where women can come together, talk about the bees and the birds of menstruation, and have a laugh: there will even be comedy nights. Currently, Bloody Good Period is working with The Cup Effect on a campaign called CupAware, which aims to educate females about mooncups, a more environmentally-friendly alternative to sanitary products.   

‘We want to bring women together and empower them,’ Edlin asserts, ‘and to tell the powers that be: no more ignoring us, now you’re going to listen. It’s happening to all women and you don’t get to get away with it anymore.’

Amazing work! @discolush and pals showing off their gorge collection at @wework! #periods #women

A post shared by Bloody Good Period. ?️‍? (@bloodygoodperiod) on

To donate to Bloody Good Period, visit their website: www.bloodygoodperiod.com

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