Sat | Jan 19, 2019

LASCO supports female reproductive health education

Published:Friday | October 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The cover of author Shellly-Ann Weeks' book.

The silence on female menstrual and reproductive health was broken at the official launch of author Shelly-Ann Weeks' new book It's My Body. Period., held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.

In a thrust to address the absence of guidance facilities and materials for young girls, the book encourages open dialogue on female reproductive health and explores the frustration felt by females during their periods.

"The instructions that I got when I started my period was that I should be so good at hiding it, nobody should be able to tell," shared Weeks in her address.

"We suffer in silence because of this thought process. There are so many things we can learn from each other, and the minute we start sharing stories, we will realise that we can really empower each other more and that there is a lot of knowledge to be shared," she said.

According to Curves Brand Manger Renee Rose, It's My Body. Period., complements the ongoing narrative that Curves, a brand of sanitary napkins and title sponsor for the launch, started to eradicate the stigma surrounding periods in 2016.


Battle with periods


"LASCO, through our Curves 'Girl Talk' initiative, travels islandwide to prep and primary schools to give young girls the opportunity to talk. To talk about their bodies, puberty, and the upcoming, and seemingly unending, battle with their periods," Rose said.

"The goal is to help young girls learn more about their bodies in a safe and open platform where everything about feminine hygiene can be addressed and, more importantly, where unfounded myths can be laid to rest," she said.

Curves intends to share copies of Weeks' book on its upcoming school tour and encourages corporate Jamaica to pick up a copy of the book and sponsor copies for girls in communities across the island.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange, represented by Bureau of Gender Affairs research officer Tamika Peart, fully endorsed Weeks' book and supported the mandate of her project.

"I am delighted to be endorsing this book. Period. Her Flow (a foundation started by Weeks) and It's My Body. Period. serves as an important consciousness raising initiative that starts discussions that target a society that wants gender equality and social inclusion as the misconceptions of women and our reproductive systems have moral, economic, psychological and social implications on society," Peart said.

Managing menstruation in a hygienic way should be a basic necessity and right for all women, but unfortunately, basic facilities such as sanitary napkins and disposal amenities are lacking in many schools and workplaces. Through the Her Flow Foundation, Weeks plans to create a space where persons are able to easily access feminine products free of cost.