If the story of Diana has made you think and you also want to help this cause to change the world
Around the age of 35 years, Diana Sierra reconnected with that day in which he was told that he would never again return to being a girl. The first menstruation appears now, with that power, developer of the passage of the years, as the start of one of the cycles most important of your life. And not because then Diana turned instantly into a woman (“miss”, I said to her), but because so many years after understand the huge barriers that menstruation entails for a good part of the girls and women of the world.
Before Diana came to this conclusion and decided to try to do something, of course, many things happened.
The repudiation to the rule is everywhere
The world is full of myths and practices that have served to stigmatize the menstruation period of women and, therefore, their lives. There are places where the power of these myths is absolutely devastating: the chaupadi is a hindu practice, present in some areas of Nepal, by forcing girls and women to leave home and sleep in a hut during the days of menstruation.
But, beyond the cases of stigmatization more extreme, the bias towards menstruation is one of the phenomena most globalized there is. While I listen to Diana, I put myself to the test: can I talk about my rule with naturalness in front of the men? How many times have I used a euphemism to refer to my period? Why is it always I hide the tampon into the sleeves as if carrying drugs, a weapon, I don't know, anything forbidden? The more I look the less I understand why this strange relationship with an essential part of my nature.
From a small village in Colombia Diana moved to Bogotá with a scholarship to study at the University. Four years before, when he was 12, he had come to her first menstruation and the first messages about what it meant to be a lady. “You can't play with the rich boys, you can't ride a bike, you can't skip... you can't. That is what I often heard growing up”. That was, without knowing it, the first crac to Diana: “you start to see this whole process, which could be super-natural, as something full of restrictions”.
around the world, access to the products of menstrual hygiene has been fraught with difficulties. A few weeks ago, I was traveling by Iran (along with my rule) and, as already has happened to me in other countries, it was impossible to find packs (forget the tampons) in a supermarket. But in addition, the type of tax that is levied on these items tends to be the same as that of articles of luxury, despite the fact that the consumption of the first need (what woman can choose to have no rule?). In Spain, the so-called rate rose sanitary pads and tampons is 10% (the VAT to the articles of the first necessity, is 4%). We are taking steps to combat this tax is sexist (Canada, Ireland and Kenya no longer apply), but the road will be long.
Bogota, Diana moved to the united STATES where, during the following 10 years, would be dedicated to designing products for big brands like Panasonic, Nike or LG. With much effort had managed to become a designer of success. However, something was wrong.
“I Started a master's degree at Columbia University and, by chance, I walked into a class on access to energy where they spoke of the deaths of children due to pneumonia or girls burned by doing your homework next to a kerosene lamp... I Was truly aware of the shortcomings arising from the lack of access to design”, he explains. Target then assumed that I was designing for the customer wrong.
he Decided to go to Uganda to participate in a project of local entrepreneurship. Each day, they would arrive at the workshop, girls aged 10 and 11 years to ask for work. Without understanding it, Diana did what was necessary: ask to local people. “I understood that the reason was that the girls, with their first period, they begin to miss class, among other things because they have absolutely nothing to protect themselves. One week each month and, if together, that is almost a quarter of the school year,” he explains.
When menstruating is incompatible with the educate
In places where, in addition, the education means for many families an economic effort, not to yield or give results, the parents decide to pull girls out of school and putting them to work. Menstruation becomes a disadvantage insurmountable that takes you away from your education. To know this reality meant to Target a second crac.
Although still there are few comprehensive studies on the social impact of menstruation on girls and women in the world, agencies such as UNICEF and the World Bank point out that, in Africa one in every ten girls miss school when they have the period. Worldwide, one out of every three girls do not have access to toilets and adequate services, which causes many decide to stay at home to avoid mishaps.
I imagine Diana with all these figures in your mind of a designer, trying to find solutions to the problem. “I picked up fabric of the umbrella and mosquito net and made a prototype for a towel washable within which it could be put any type of absorbent material”. There began to develop more and more prototypes until, finally, created the pilot of what is now your product.
The process lasted eight months. Diana returned to the University of Columbia with something very different than what he was when he started his master: he had finally designed a product that I truly believed.
A girl proud to be a girl
The University supported his initiative and, combining his previous work, he continued designing the wipes, distributed in Uganda and other African countries. Soon he would find himself with the third crash, which was to bet on definitely for the project of his life.
Reading the questionnaires and reports on the product where they collected the comments of the girls who had received the wipes, a girl had left a text in which he said that he had liked was that someone, in some part of the world, I wanted to have done a wipe for her, so she was proud to be a girl. What was the crac final and, while the account, to Target her voice quivering, is achina to look, you will lean out, still today, the tears.
four years Ago from that last crash with the form of the text of a girl which, in addition, also came the name for the brand: Be Girl, you have reached to 25 countries and that has enabled it to distribute more than 56,000 products. Be Girl is, in reality, a paraguas that encompasses various ideas, among them, a concept of patronage by which a person who buys one of the panties can donate another to a person in need; or educational products on the menstrual cycle such as that now being developed in Mozambique and that has already involved more than 14,000 girls and a thousand children.
To Target it is important to keep pressing to eliminate unfair taxes as the rate rose. But also, and above all, speak with the girls. “Those with whom I work are superfuertes. I just helped these girls, who have all this potential, they have the tools to achieve it”. And finally Diana closes the circle that she began with that, their first menstruation.
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Content adapted from the video of Diana
MORE INFORMATIONThe revolution of the role of use, and the planting of Looks that added
I spent 11 years designing with Panasonic, with Nike. Now I do panties for the protection menstrual.
By sheer chance I walked into a class that is called Access to Energy, and that's when I realized what is the problem in Africa access, literally, to better ways of life. And to see that, as a woman and as a designer, it was a call to do something more.
girls, when they start to arrive the period, they have absolutely nothing to wear to protect themselves, they begin to miss class one week each month, almost a quarter of the school year.
Only 10% actually have access to what is feminine. Then I picked up an umbrella and a mosquito net and I did a prototype for a towel washable.
And after a year of working on this, I was reading the opinion of the girls about the wipes that I had been dealt and one of them in particular said that someone in some part of the world I wanted to because I had done the wipe for her, and that's why she was proud to be a girl.
That, to me, meant everything, the other day I resigned to Panasonic.
Us in these times, we've reached over 25 countries and we have covered more than 50,000 girls with products, it is a tiny step towards equity; when you already know that, with your tools, your education and your performance can help other people to have that possibility.
it Is in a certain way to tell that you are not a prisoner of your body, really speaking out and saying that is not fair. I do panties for the protection menstrual, that is the object, but in itself that is behind him is to be able to allow a girl not to feel limited by being, for your body, and be able to stay in school, you can educate yourself, because a girl can go to school, can go to college and may graduate is a girl that can work, is a girl who has independence and can make decisions about your life and your future.
This content has been developed by Yoigo.