Women Advocate Group Requests President Weah as it Observes World Menstrual Hygiene Day
By. G. Bennie Bravo Johnson
On Saturday, May 28, 2022, in honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Young Women’s Initiative PAYOWI, with the support of its partner ALUMNI, successfully conducted an all-girls sex education session aimed at dispelling the many myths that surround females when they are experiencing menstrual discharge.
PAYOWI is a women-led organization dedicated to increasing women’s prospects via education and empowerment. Their initiatives include, but are not limited to, activism, leadership development, mentorship programs, and student scholarships.
Ms. Hawa C. Wilson, the program coordinator, stated that the purpose of World Menstrual Hygiene Day is to raise awareness for a healthy and educational environment in all schools, which will reduce the stress and challenges that girls face during menstrual discharge, which can cause them to miss classes for weeks due to the stigma associated with menstruation.
She goes on to say that females are more likely to miss 45 days of school since there is no sexuality education in schools, no sanitary pads in schools, and no clean restrooms to let girls to stay in school during their menstrual flow.
Ms. Rachel Cole, the assistant program coordinator, urged parents to enroll their daughters in sex education programs that will help them stay safe and prevent teenage pregnancy as well as illnesses caused by a lack of sex education.
Meanwhile, during an interactive session with the girls, they discuss their experiences and issues with menstrual discharge that have arisen as a consequence of beliefs that have been passed down to them either through traditional belief or as a result of myths that have been passed down to them.
It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population is made up of menstruating women and girls.
According to a recent UNESCO research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, one out of every ten females misses school during their menstrual cycle, with missed days accounting for 20% of the school year. According to a study conducted in Liberia, girls’ lack of access to sanitary goods and services has caused them to perform poorly in school, become pregnant at an early age, marry before turning 18, and drop out.
PAYOWI, the foremost young women’s initiative, and other partners will petition the national Legislature on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, to remove GST and taxes on sanitary pads, teach CSF in schools, and allocate budget to SRVIR in order to stop such incidents and create a healthy learning environment and community for girls during menstrual discharge.
Menstruation, a natural biological process that all women and girls go through, has become a barrier to their advancement in society; the girls in their petition gathered that not having a sanitary pad is a blood shame! Thousands of Liberian women and girls use old garments, socks, rags, and tissue because they don’t have access to sanitary goods, which might cause health problems. As a result, referring to menstruation as a taboo subject still leads to a lack of knowledge about menstrual hygiene.
Their petition to a reporter from the Womenvoices Newspaper revealed that they are pleading with the president and other key players to help them realize their ambition.
“We, the undersigned citizens, first request that H.E. President George Manneh Oppong Weah issue an Executive Order suspending all sanitary pad taxes and import charges.” The order will have an impact on women’s and girls’ access to sanitary pads, making them more affordable and accessible while they petition and engage legislators to change the law. We want you, as Liberia’s Feminist in Chief, to openly stand with Liberia’s women and girls, as you have in the past, to address period poverty and empower women and girls to live, learn, lead, and contribute meaningfully in their communities.
We request that the Liberian government revise the Revenue Code to abolish all tariffs that apply to the importation and sale of sanitary pads in Liberia.
We request that the Legislature allocate monies to the Comprehensive Sexuality Initiative in the budget for the following fiscal year
We request that the Ministry of Education makes Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) a priority, invests in it, and accelerates its efforts to ensure that it is taught in schools, requiring all schools, public and private, to provide sanitary pads in their restrooms.
They want the Liberia Revenue Authority, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to commit to working with the legislature to execute the updated tax policy, control, and monitor the price of sanitary pads on the market.