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Fear of Period Dramas


25 May 2016 at 12:03 pm
Wendy Williams
International development organisation WaterAid has produced a light-hearted short film using clips from popular “period” dramas to highlight the most awkward #perioddramas and raise awareness of issues faced by more than one billion women around the world who do not have access to a toilet.

Wendy Williams | 25 May 2016 at 12:03 pm


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Fear of Period Dramas
25 May 2016 at 12:03 pm

International development organisation WaterAid has produced a light-hearted short film using clips from popular “period” dramas to highlight the most awkward #perioddramas and raise awareness of issues faced by more than one billion women around the world who do not have access to a toilet.

WaterAid’s 10 most awkward #perioddrama moments imagines how the world’s literary heroines may have dealt with their periods in a bid to help remove the silence and stigma that surrounds the issue.

Paul Nichols, WaterAid Australia’s chief executive, said we needed to talk openly about the issue as being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way was crucial to women’s wellbeing.

“Whilst our film is light-hearted, we have a heavy heart when we observe how many women in the developing world have to cope with their periods without being able to lock the toilet door behind them,” Nichols said.

“When there are no safe, private toilets in schools, girls often skip school during their period, or drop out of school altogether once they reach puberty.

“We need to talk openly about this issue and remove the silence and stigma that surround periods otherwise it will be much more difficult for women and girls to call for change, such as having access to a toilet and running water at school, that will enable them to deal with their periods and play a full and active part in their society no matter what time of month.”

The Not for Profit launched its #perioddrama campaign to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May.

It follows research that found 67 per cent of women in the UK admitted to adapting their lifestyle because they fear awkward #perioddramas.

Three-quarters of respondents (76 per cent) said a major fear was blood leaking onto clothes when out in public, 55 per cent of women said they had a dread of smelling bad, 42 per cent expressed coyness around having to hide sanitary products on their way to the toilet in the workplace, 42 per cent of women said not knowing where the next toilet might be while travelling was a preoccupation while 25 per cent admitted craving huge amounts of chocolate.

Only 6 per cent of women reported experiencing no fears of period dramas.

The survey also highlighted that most women still consider it an embarrassing and taboo subject.

Four out of five women (81 per cent) said they would never ask a stranger for a sanitary product if caught short, while 37 per cent wouldn’t even ask a friend or colleague.

More than half (52 per cent) said they felt less confident than usual when experiencing a period drama and most women (89 per cent) agreed that men were at an advantage for not having to deal with period dramas.

Nichols said it was an issue that needed attention.

“Every woman and girl should have access to facilities to manage her menstruation in a hygienic way, wherever she is, in privacy, safety and with dignity,” he said.

“Women in our region are greatly impacted by lack of toilets. In Papua New Guinea over 80 per cent of the population don’t have adequate toilets and 60 per cent do not have access to safe water. While in Timor-Leste 60 per cent of people do not have sanitation and 30 per cent do not have safe water.

“By giving this issue the attention it deserves, we will help ensure every women and girl has access to water, safe toilets and somewhere to wash by 2030.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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