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Plan International UK, the charity behind the report, suggests there is a need to talk more about the issue as many girls feel embarrassed – with the menstrual cycle tarnished with stigma and taboo.
Their findings also reveal that one in seven of the girls and women interviewed said they did not know what was happening when they first started their period – clearly demonstrating a need for more to be done to teach young women about what’s to come.
While the idea of tackling this head on and talking to boys in schools sounds good in practice, from my experience as an educational sexual health worker in central Manchester it is difficult to discuss sensitive issues such as menstruation with boys and young men.
The overriding responses tend to be that girls get “moody” or “smell funny” during periods, and in general, they want to evade talking about the subject because it is a “girl’s problem”.
Periods are something women and girls have been having for thousands of years – it’s the reason you and I are even here.
In front of the girls, they tend to be more disrespectful and unsympathetic about the issues associated with periods for girls – and primarily see any association with the vagina as sexual.Menstruation is associated with smells, mess, blood, gore, impurity and disgust.Which is probably why many women say they feel uncomfortable talking about their periods. (GMT) Free Please arrive at the centre to get refreshments.Michael Richards does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
When they are alone, however, with no girls present, I’ve noticed how boys have more understanding about periods than they let on in front of the girls – even being sympathetic about the difficulties women face.