Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Meghan Markle on the need to get over our “puritanical bashfulness” about periods

meghan markle (2).jpg

Having a period might seem like the most natural thing in the world but in many countries, a woman’s monthly cycle is amazingly still seen as a taboo.  

Now actress Meghan Markle has written an online essay imploring everyone to move beyond the “puritanical bashfulness” that sees menstruation treated as shameful and embarrassing in order to highlight the plight of girls and women in India facing stigmatization.

Markle, 35, is an ambassador for World Vision – a role that her boyfriend Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, also took on – and wrote for Time magazine about a recent trip she had with the charity to India.

Meghan Markle

The actress has been an ambassador for World Vision since 2016

Published on International Women’s Day, she said in the piece: “Many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely.”

Because of the stigma, 23% of girls drop out or miss 145 school days a year: “As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth, first overcoming female feticide, then being victim to malnourishment, potentially abuse, and lack of access to proper sanitation facilities.

“Why, if she is able to overcome all of these challenges and finally get to school, should her education and potential to succeed, be sacrificed because of shame surrounding her period?”


Read more: Teens in Nepal document the stigma around periods


The actress goes on to say the issue isn’t confined to India. “In communities all over the globe, young girls' potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world.”

The Suits star included a poem by American writer Nayyirah Waheed on her Instagram yesterday, which she captioned: “To always knowing your worth”.

 

 

To always knowing your worth ✨ #IWD

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on

 

To drive home her point, she concludes that talking is the way forward: “We need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls' education from the ground up, and within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.

“Wasted opportunity is unacceptable with stakes this high.”

Read the full essay at time.com.

Images: Rex Features

Related

gloria-steinem-white-feminism.jpg

White feminism “is not feminism”, says Gloria Steinem

women symbol traffic lights.jpg

One city is replacing men with women at crossing signals

More

The best and coolest gluten-free restaurants, cafes and bakeries in the UK

We bring you 29 places to chow down sans gluten

23 Aug 2017

Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner unveil their Ned Stark impressions

Spoiler: they’re hilarious

by Amy Swales
23 Aug 2017

Sylvanian Families has been given a seriously adult makeover

We’re obsessed with these furry foul-mouthed critters

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Aug 2017

The second series of Victoria has an important mental health storyline

The ITV show is tackling issues as relevant now as ever

by Amy Swales
23 Aug 2017

This terrifying new TV series relives the horror of Trump’s election

Lena Dunham, Sarah Paulson and Emma Roberts will star in the new series of American Horror Story

by Moya Crockett
23 Aug 2017

Woman ghosted by her ex gets ultimate revenge by becoming his boss

Revenge is sweet

by Megan Murray
23 Aug 2017

Former Lioness says women’s football has a toxic culture of bullying

Ex-England player Eni Aluko has spoken out about her time on the team.

by Moya Crockett
23 Aug 2017

Thought-provoking illustrations reveal hidden secrets of strangers

The artist was met with “unexpected confessions”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

The most annoying Tube habits, as ranked by irritated Londoners

“Could you move down, please?”

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

These are the main reasons relationships end, according to a new study

...and the reasons couples stay together

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017