Period Proud – Environmenstrual week 2022 is coming up!

Next week, our partner WEN (Women’s Environmental Network) in the UK is bringing back the Environmenstrual week for the 5th year in a row. Environmenstrual week is a campaign that aims to shine a light on the health of women, girls, and those who menstruate and abolish shame. This year, Environmenstrual week is taking place from the 17th to the 21st of October and is focusing on period shame – period poverty, reproductive health, continence, and the shameful persistence of stigma and taboos around menstruation.

Menstruation is a topic at the intersection of health, environment, and the rights of women and gender non-conforming people. That’s why, as an ecofeminist organisation, WECF stands up for the right to menstrual health and campaigns for breaking the taboo on menstruation and reproductive health. We believe that the right to decent menstrual health is fundamental for women and girls. We wrote a publication called Toxic free periods to inform people who menstruate, but also encourage the use of more sustainable, safer, and cheaper alternatives. We want to work towards more openness, more facts and more knowledge about menstruation, with a particular focus on the environmentally polluting and unfair aspects of ‘common’ menstrual products and habits. Ahead of the Environmenstrual week, we highly encourage you to read the publication in order to understand the issues at stake when it comes to menstruation.

During the Environmenstrual week, WEN and partner organisations aim to educate, advocate and break through all period-related taboos that are limiting people that menstruate from retaking ownership of their period health, in physical, mental, and economic sense. The campaign tackles four main issues:

First, Environmenstrual week is mainly focused on removing the shame around periods. The taboo on menstruation has a huge impact on the products we use, how we use them, and, above all, how we dispose of them. For instance, shame is causing people who menstruate not to seek medical support in case of irregular or extremely painful periods. Thus, limiting our ability to have safe and healthy periods.

The issue of pollution caused by menstrual products is also highlighted during the campaign. Almost every menstrual pad or tampon contains plastic. In addition, most tampons and pads are individually, and unnecessarily, wrapped in plastic, which creates a lot of waste.

Disposable menstrual products are not only harmful to the environment, as landfill waste and polluters of our sewers, beaches, and oceans, but they may also be harmful to our health. This is because producers do not have to disclose the ingredients they use, but we know that a lot of menstrual pads contain plastic and chlorine. Luckily, there are more and more alternatives available.

We are aware that period poverty is also a major problem. Alternatives cannot be found everywhere, and biodegradable alternatives weigh heavily on the budgets of many women. If you’re ready to make the switch to healthy, eco-friendly menstrual products, Wen has teamed up with brands to get you discount codes for menstrual cups, washable pads, period pants, and menstrual pads and tampons.

There are many ways to engage during the Environmenstrual week. WEN has compiled many tools for anyone who wants to raise their voice.

One example of how you can engage is with WEN’s Social media challenge #PeriodProud. WEN challenges you to pose with your favourite plastic-free period product and tag your friends and family to do the same. Breaking through the taboos surrounding periods together!

Other ways to engage include signing the petition and open letter. Also, WEN is organizing a free online webinar on how reusables are helping councils become more sustainable. Finally, if you want to organize something yourself, WEN’s toolkit provides useful tips and inspiration to get involved.