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Brief Published: 12 Jul 2021

New Initiatives Normalise & Celebrate Menstruation

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Over 800 million people across the globe are menstruating on any given day – yet periods are still often seen as indecent or taboo. From ad campaigns to artworks, we highlight recent initiatives that aim to take the stigma out of ‘that time of the month’.

Pluripotent stem cells – usually harvested from bone marrow via invasive procedures ­– are found in significant quantities in menstrual blood. Speculative project ANEO is a kit that would allow women to safely collect their period blood and send it to a menstrual blood bank for use in developing treatments for a range of diseases. To encourage people to contribute – and break down menstrual stigma – donors would receive a piece of jewellery made from their own blood. The concept was shortlisted at this year’s London-based MullenLowe Nova awards, which spotlights emerging creative social projects.

Along with other financial worries and pressures brought on by the Covid-era financial crunch, period poverty has surged during lockdown. British charity Bloody Good Period reports demand for sanitary products is six times higher than pre-pandemic, leading to them distributing over 79,000 packs of period products since UK lockdowns started in March 2020. At the end of May, the charity launched its #NoShameHere campaign; a fun and witty ad that normalises period symptoms.

And in June, The Times of India (the country’s largest news outlet) debuted its #CutTheShame initiative to raise awareness about period poverty and menstrual health. The campaign aims to help eradicate period taboos and menstruation’s association with ‘impurity’ while drawing attention to the 84% of Indian women who have restricted – or no – access to sanitary products.

The awarding of an MBE to UK period poverty activist Amika George in June signals a sea-change of menstrual issues in public consciousness. Brands should embrace the opportunity to make people who menstruate feel seen and supported.

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