'It’s blood! It’s okay!' – the Ipswich women breaking down period stigma
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
For some women talking about periods is considered shameful and not normal but under the vision of an Ipswich businesswoman, she is looking to help break down that stigma.
Maria Igwebuike, the founder of the Trinity Project has begun running period workshops in the town on Monday.
The workshop taught women from Suffolk Refugee Support about the different period products on offer, how to make sustainable period pads and self-care for that time of the month.
One attendee said that she learned menstruation is a normal thing and that there shouldn’t be shame around it.
She said: “It’s not a sickness – it’s a normal thing for every woman, but each woman experiences it differently.”
The 35-year-old from Kurdistan – a region in Northern Iraq – explained that cultural and religious conceptions around periods are harder to break down.
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“You cannot change the culture, but you can change some people’s minds. Men can pay attention to women, be patient with them and help them to feel comfortable," she said.
“Men don’t go through these things, so it’s difficult for them to understand, but we have to give them information so that they will be more knowledgeable
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Another attendee from Northern Iraq said: “Honestly, in my country some people have the view that you can’t talk about periods because there is shame.
"For girls and women, it’s a secret."
Heather Egan, health promotion specialist for the Terrence Higgins Trust, helped run the first of the workshops. She explained the importance of normalising periods.
She said: “It’s about the relationship we have with ourselves which will help us to feel empowered, but it’s also important to normalise it within society and different cultures.
“In some cultures, if you’re menstruating you shouldn’t go to religious buildings. It's not for me to say if that’s right or wrong but it puts a lot of pressure on individuals."
Heather went on to say that period product adverts themselves can be unhelpful and perpetuate negative misconceptions.
She said: “When we’re using blue liquid in period advertising, it just reaffirms the disgust.
“But it’s blood! It’s okay – it's there and it exists, but at the moment we’re just pretending that it’s something else,” she added.
The second of the workshops will take place on October 11 from 10.30am until 12.30pm at Ipswich and Suffolk Club.