A few weeks ago, we organized an evening event called RED WAVE TALKS to celebrate the United Nations Menstrual Hygiene Campaign #MHDay18 in London.
The campaign is all about breaking the silence and raising awareness about the negative impact of persisting taboos and stigma on women and girls globally. It aims to raise awareness of the challenges women and girls face about menstruation and highlight solutions.
The subject of taboos and stigma about menstruation is close to the heart of Ruby Raut, the CEO of WUKA. Ruby grew up as a teenager in Nepal, where the word for period translates as ‘untouchable’.
Because of her experiences as a teenager, Ruby wanted to celebrate #MHDay18 by bringing together a group of individuals businesses and organisations who all work to break taboos and create a climate where #menstruationmatters. The event featured a series of short talks from inspirational women speakers with conversation, information, and treats.
There were speakers from the charitable sector as well as a number of start-ups and businesses creating new solutions to solve the challenges of menstruation. From those campaigning for #plasticfree period products, to groups providing clear information and educating women, RED WAVE TALKS was an exciting and unique event to give a voice those who think that #menstruationmatters.
Over 60 people from 16 years to 70+ turned up for a fantastic, exciting and really different kind of evening – all about periods.
The Women’s Environmental Network @WEN_UK had a stall about their brilliant Environmenstrual Campaign – for people, periods and the planet. It aims to be a UK revolution for health eco-friendly menstrual products. See more about the campaign and Crowdfunder here, including a brilliant short video – it really is inspiring https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/environmenstrualcampaign
We were able to raffle off a few boxes of treats featuring products from our sponsors LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics and Pukka Herbs as wells as some sweet treats and, of course, a pair of WUKAs.
Ruby kicked off the event and talked about growing up in a culture where periods were considered ‘impure’ and how this eventually inspired her to create WUKA period wear, and work to get rid of taboos around menstruation – encouraging women to be more open and positive about their periods.
Then, we listened to our featured speakers who were tasked to answer questions about why menstruation matters to them and what their roles is in bringing this issue into the public eye.
Everyone wants to get rid of single-use plastic, right? Especially when it comes to menstrual products… The incredible Ella Daish told us about her journey to create her petition – she is asking manufacturers to remove plastic from menstrual products. She also talked about why it is crucial that organisations and supermarkets #endperiodplastic 100,000 people have already signed the petition!
You can still sign Ella’s petition here https://www.change.org/p/make-all-sanitary-products-biodegradable
Monica Karpinski, the founder of The Femedic talked passionately about why #menstruationmatters and why we need to separate menstruation from gender
Follow them @thefemedic
Chris Knight and Camilla Power from the Radical Anthropology Group talked about our ancestors who used the menstrual cycle to tell time – a far cry from the stressful 24-hour watches we all use to regiment our life today. http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/
An early drawing of women dancing The Eland Bull Dance, with the men waiting some distance away.
Sally King from Menstrual Matters
Sally King, the Director of Menstrual Matters talked about why education about menstruation mattered to help women take control of their health. She also talked about some of the health issues related to menstruation or hormonal medication such as anxiety, migraine, and IBS.
Bryony Farmer from Precious Stars Pads speaking at #REDWAVETALKS
Bryony Farmer from Precious Stars Pads https://www.preciousstars.co.uk talked on vlogging about menstrual products, making them herself and ‘generally rocking it and being an incredible speaker’. See Byrony yourself https://www.youtube.com/user/preciousstarspads
Did you know 70% of girls can't go to the toilet during school lessons? Lucy Russell from Plan International UK shared about her campaigning to improve girls’ lives in the UK @PlanUK.
Manjit Gill @binti_period used real life stories to highlight why we need better sex education in UK schools. Binti believes every girl deserves menstrual dignity, meaning access to education about menstruation, access to pads, and freedom from stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation. See www.binti.co.uk
Marisa Carnesky showed images from her Incredible Bleeding Woman performance art work - challenging the experience of shame around bleeding.
Chella Quint and Ruby Raut with ‘leak chic’
Chella Quint brought the talks to an inspiring end. Chella is a #periodpositive researcher and comedienne… ‘periods can be a pain in the uterus’… She shared her work to liberate leaks and stains – and her new campaign to make school exams a #periodpositive experience for girls. See https://chellaquint.wordpress.com/free-stuff/
And it ended with everyone dancing the period mambo – big thanks to Chella Quint, a ‘force of nature’. It’s hard to explain quite how Chella got everyone up dancing but she did!
Everyone getting up to dance along to the Period Mambo with Chella Quint
The whole event was a brilliant opportunity for women to network, listen to new and different voices, learn new things, and most of all to experience what it means to be #periodpositive through a an exciting and diverse range of views.