How menstruation problems undermine women’s rights and lead to women’s disempowerment

A  free-bleeding activist, Kiran Gandhi said “as I ran, I thought to myself about how women and men have both been effectively socialized to pretend periods don’t exist. By establishing a norm of period-shaming societies, this effectively prevents the ability to bond over an experience that 50 per cent of us in the human population share monthly” (National Review,10 August 2015, p. 1).

Menstruation is considered as a social taboo which arises many issues at hand. Taboo is defined as a social or religious custom which prohibits discussion of a specific topic related with a particular person, place or thing. Women’s natural phenomena, menstruation is discarded in many cultures and society for its stigma. Menstruation is part of women’s lives and is constructed not only for shedding of their uterus but for healthy reproduction. However, the significance of menstruation is being hidden under the surface because it is embarrassing, unfamiliar and uncomfortable among men and even women. According to a study from UN, one out of three female adolescents in South Asia was not aware of the menstruation prior to getting it, and 48% of girls in Iran and 10% of girls in India believe that menstruation is a disease. As a result, due to lack of sex education, many women in developing nations are not aware of the need to reach out for feminine hygiene products, engendering more problems in women’s rights’ issues. Moreover, in poverty-stricken countries, many women lack access to economical hygiene menstruation products. Instead, they use unsanitary materials like rags, leaves, mud and shoe insole as a replacement. This can lead to infections and vaginitis which is dangerous for healthy reproduction. To the contrary, media does not fulfill its role of addressing this problem. There are stigmas associated with menstruation as a taboo, and media tends to capitalize it. Often, media does not dispatch any issues involved, and even advertisements also frame menstruation as filthy and stressful matters. Because these social conflicts such as lack of access to hygiene pads, menstrual taboos and media’s stigma prevail in the society, this phenomena undermines women’s rights and lead to women’s disempowerment.

To take a further look at social taboos in media, a Korean commercial from one of the most famous women hygiene brand called “good feeling” shows three males discussing women’s hygiene products. These men comment on a woman’s fragrance cologne, but they believe the woman was trying to hide the foul scent coming from her menstruation pad. They also replace the word for period by saying that it is “that day”. The absence of the correct term highlights the the idea that period is a taboo topic that must be carefully regulated in public sphere. The social remarks surrounding menstruation, as shown in feminine hygiene product advertisements, discloses the taboo message: women are dirty and dangerous to themselves, and women must strive to silence all signs of menstruation. This puts women in the position to constrain their voices and willingness when they discuss health issues on reproduction and menstruation cycle. Although emergence of feminine hygiene products’ commercials helped women to access the public, the ways products are presented still prevent women to become subtle. As a result, media does not address any surrounding social taboo, but rather attack women’s needs and shame to make them purchase their products.

In order to prevent stigmas and shame associated with menstruation problems and its hygiene products, people should promote sex education. Countries like India, Africa and Thailand do not have enough information to take care of their biological needs: menstruation , and women even lack access to sanitary pads. At least 500 million girls and women globally lack adequate facilities for managing their periods, according to a 2015 report from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Another reason why education should be stressed is shown through an indifference of a Korean student at a Korean high school. According to a Korean news report, a female teenager was sneakily walking towards the bathroom with her sanitary pad. A male classmate noticed and demanded her to take care of the sanitation problem before she arrived at school in an irritated voice. He also mentioned that she was probably too lazy to deal with her problem beforehand. Other startling reports in Korea claimed that some men believe a menstruation cycle is a process that women can control by her willingness to last the cycle only for a day. Some of the younger students thought the color of period was blue from frequent and wrong depiction of “clean” sanitary pads in Korean commercial ads. This situation inevitably demonstrates why education on menstruation and sex should be enhanced. Plus, the media is not effectively showcasing the reality by concealing the actual color of blood and most powerfully stigmatizing the portrayal. According to many education centers in Korea, accounts of these problems arise from lack of thorough education that needs to be clearly addressed.

Other implementations that people can enforce to remove menstruation issues could be campaigns and usages of social media. Many campaign movements have been potent. For instance, YWCA: “pink box project” has sent over 500 handmade sanitary pads to those in need; NGOs such as compassion groups and many other women activists have gradually altered people’s ignorance on menstruation issues by promoting hygiene management projects. Lastly, advertisements on menstruation should take over exaggerations on sanitization and shaming incidents. With such efforts, media can make a change in people’s beliefs. A epitome of this solution has been ongoing in China. Feminine hygiene brand in China called, “Kotex” is opening up the menstrual taboos by sponsoring a drama series: “Stuff Girl’s Don’t Say”, aiming to educate women about personal care and to make women feel comfortable talking openly about the issue. In the light of this, promotion of social media and campaign movements can halt the menstruation taboos to overcome the social challenges surrounding menstruation cycle that women currently face in the society.


A Female Afghan Pilot Soars and Gives Up

On Thursday, on the eve of her scheduled return to Afghanistan from a 15-month training course at Air Force bases in Texas, Florida and Arkansas, Captain Rahmani broke a sobering piece of news to her American trainers. She still wants to be a military pilot, but not under her country’s flag. This summer, she filed a petition seeking asylum in the United States, where she hopes to eventually join the Air Force.

“Things are not changing” for the better in Afghanistan, Captain Rahmani said in an interview on Friday. “Things are getting worse and worse.”

At work in Afghanistan, she said, she felt unsafe because most of her male colleagues held her in contempt. Still, she put on a brave face during the early months of her training in the United States, which began in September 2015.

But that resolve has eroded in recent months. The Afghan Air Force stopped paying her salary shortly after the American training program began, Captain Rahmani said. When female workers at an airport in southern Afghanistan were slain this month, she was horrified to hear some members of Parliament quoted as saying the women would have been safe if they had stayed at home.

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The death of Fidel Castro brings reflection on how his country handled prejudice, writes William Gumede.

Cuba’s efforts to roll back racism offer valuable lessons for South Africa, where racism, because of the legacy of colonialism, slavery and apartheid, is deeply ingrained within institutions, social relations and everyday behaviour.

Cuba has done more to combat racism than South Africa, Brazil and the US – the globe’s other nations with racism allied to persistent race-based inequalities, which have their origins in historical injustices against black people, such as colonialism, slavery and Jim Crow segregation and apartheid.

The trouble in countries such as South Africa and Cuba is that racism, because of the particularly deep racist legacy of the past, infuses the DNA of almost every institution in society. Racist practices become so much a part of habits and routine, and social and professional interaction, that it is often not even recognised as such.

Throughout this world racism still exists. The racism should be solved as soon as possible because it might cause a great problem in the future. And since the education system are getting developed the racism should be taught as a bad thing for the future kids.


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Trump’s election threatens human rights around the world

Since President Wilson carried his Fourteen Points to the 1919 Versailles conference, the United States has been the world’s foremost promoter of human rights and democracy. However, now that Mr. Trump is the president of the United States, the country appears to walk away from that role. It is told that when Trump was asked about “I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country.” It’s true the U.S. human rights record is far from perfect, and presidential preaching — from Wilson to Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush — often has been bluntly rejected. But American pressure has also played in bringing freedom in countries, rescuing countless political prisoners and restraining abuses by autocrats like Mr. Sissi. Even powerful adversaries, such as Mr. Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, have been discomfited by U.S. human rights criticism and sanctions, including those under the Magnitsky Act, which mandated travel bans and asset freezes for Russian officials linked to such crimes as the killing in prison of a dissident lawyer.


Trump being elected as president of the United States is a shocking news all across the world. I personally think that this is a sad news to many countries such as Mexico. Mexicans have been immigrating to the United States in order to earn money for one’s family. I believe that the United States will become somewhat conservative in the future and I believe that this is not a good news for the immigrants who are in United States or planning to move to the US.

In Afghanistan, Women’s Rights Still Struggle to Take Root

This article shows the reality of women’s rights in Afghanistan. This November, Afghan women and men on Facebook joined the Unite to End Violence Against Women. This is a big problem in the Afghanistan because they are not getting enough respect from others. Earlier this month, two female public figures debated on the anti-harassment law and the cleric shocked many netizens by calling them “rationally paralyzed” with “defective brains”. The men supported his claim by stating Islamic religious texts. It was very sympathetic because those women couldn’t reply back with supportive evidences. Even though women rights is the rising topic of Afghanistan, it is not proceeding well. Education and institutions are fighting and supporting for women’s rights but it is still unstable.

I was really interested because I am currently reading a book about Afghanistan, The Kite Runner and the book had lots of information about women rights. The book was written long time ago, so I thought the environment for women would have improved a lot. However, unlike my expectation, Afghanistan women were still suffering. I wish the institutions and campaigns to act more strongly and actually bring a positive change to Afghanistan women’s rights.

Racism and Discrimination

These days, there were many issues about discrimination of the CEO from abercrombie. The CEO has a strong asian discrimination so he made the clothes of Abercrombie that looks good only on American. Usually, Americans have long legs and arms but short upper part of the body,  but asians have short legs and arms, and long upper body part. So the clothes from the Abercrombie has long arms and legs clothes, but short upper body part of clothes. With the issues, asians showed many complains about how the CEO discriminate against the countries.

However, after Abercrombie came into Asia, unlike what the CEO of Abercrombie had expected, Asians loved the clothes that Abercrombie. Even though the price of the clothes were really expansive, Asians loved the clothes and CEO made huge benefits from Asia. So from the time, Abercrombie CEO changed his mind and began to export to Asia. Like this, unlike what CEO had expected, it can make huge benefits, therefore, if CEO didn’t have racism about Asians, it may be better to the Asians.


UN slams N. Korean human rights violations

The mass amount of human rights violations occurring in North Korea has finally surfaced on the UN conference. The annual resolution by the Third Committee emphasized on the amount and measures of human rights violations that are taking place in North Korea. From women’s rights to restrictions on freedom of thought and belief, the range of human rights violations in North Korea is broad.

The UN Secretary Council and International Criminal Court (ICC) have taken measures to stop the human rights violations in North Korea. The resolution demands the Pyongyang rulers to “extend their full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur, including by granting him full, free and unimpeded access to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.

Although such actions have been taken, will North Korea stop wth its violation of human rights? Even though it is my greatest desire for the end of human rights violation, due to N. Korean’s strength in governing with terror, I don’t believe that the terrible act will come to stop at once. However, I believe that this topic coming up in international discussions and international communities taking action to prevent the violation of human rights, are first steps to preventing human rights violations in N. Korea from happening.

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Kyrgyzstan Ups Fight Against Child Marriage

In the article, “Kyrgyzstan Ups Fight Against Child Marriage,” the children from Kyrgyzstan is still getting force to get married. Although forcing children to get married became illegal in Kyrgyzstan, the forced marriage is still going on. Around 12 percent of girls marry before age 18 and about one percent are married before age 15. Most of the girls are getting married due to religious ceremonies. Also, Abduction for forced marriage is still going on which is also known as the bride kidnapping. This puts both women and girls in danger. Nearly 12,000 women and girls are getting kidnapped annually. These marriages make both women and girls vulnerable of being isolated and being domestically violent. Therefore, the government should make sure the changes help protect domestic violence survivors by supporting essential services, like shelters, that allow women to escape abuse.

I personally think that the women and girls forced marriage should stop immediately. The government should quickly have a solution for this problem because the number of women and girls getting kidnapped is ridiculous. The girls and women should also get rights on whether they choose to marry or not. The choice of the marriage should not depend on religion or society but according to one’s will. 

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Philippines President says he gives zero tolerance towards human rights

Mr. Duerte, the new Philippines President believes that in order to secure order in the society, he needs to get rid of any people who is an alarming threat to the future generation of his country. For the first 100 days of Mr. Duerte’s presidency, he has killed over 3500 criminals-mostly drug dealers and users. However, innocent civilians and many bystanders have been brutally murdered during the process, but the president has dismissed his reckless killings. Also, he does not seem to care anything about protecting human rights. His actions have sparked a controversy in United Nations  and other international communities, believing that it is a threat to world peace. According to an interview, he will continue to combat on drug criminals, saying that ” You destroy my country, I will kill you.” He thinks the only way to strike fear to his enemies is killing them. His other policies reflect his dictatorship style such as ending defense treaty with U.S. Many critics and human rights associated committees are worried about future of Philippines and democratic ideals in the world.

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Labor Rights in Gold Mines

There are several gold mines around the world, including Philipines. They are small mines, and involves many child laborers. Even though they are risking their lives, their works are not guaranteed safety. They have direct contact mercury, which may lead to various symptoms such as mercury poisoning. The water they dive into are also contaminated with mercury, and also contaminates the local river.

I did not know any of these situations in Philipines. I did not know that gold was present in Philipine, even that it was their major source of income in Philipine. While gold is a major source of income for Philipinos, it is surprising that they are not guaranteed for their safety in their works. These gold mines are usually very small, and thus are not under any regulation. They should definately be under control for child’s labor rights, and also for their safety. It does not only neccesiate regulations from government, but also companies which sources gold from artisanal mines.



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