Just as we look after ourselves each month, close the window to interruptions and fling open the door to a bunch of women to spend time with, we are extending our self-care to caring for the seas, the earth and air. I know that you are already with me on this but we wanted to make a really big noise about it. You know the kind of infectious hollering that gets everyone on their feet. We wanted to sing from the rooftops and join your voices to ours and our songs to yours and vibrate the message far and wide. That is my way of saying – it’s time to get campaigning women and signal boost some other great women who are doing the same.
This month is not your average October, it is a month of #periodaction where we smash taboos, end period poverty, educate each other and stand with others to call on manufacturers to clean up our period products. This goes to the heart of everything we believe in. So that no girl feels ashamed about a bit of blood, so that each woman has access to what she needs each month without having to go without something else, so that big companies move away from plastic because we all say ‘ENOUGH!’ and the ocean is clean of pollutants for healthy fish, mammals and the billions of people who rely on it for their livelihoods. Lofty big dreams? Not at all. Never doubt the power of our collective voice and the work of our sisters around the world to make our vision a reality.
That is why we want to tell you about the Women’s Environmental Network activities and our involvement as part of the coalition to support it. Also they have created the most wonderful toolkit with everything from making your own period pads to hosting a film night with the fellas. We also hear from Rachael in our sitting in circle piece who lives this work every day.
Womens Environmental Network (wen.org) are hosting a full week of Environmenstrual action. www.wen.org.uk/weekofaction. For the week of 13th October WEN will be shouting out about periods and the environment, with the campaign of #PERIODSWITHOUTPLASTIC including an Environmenstrual Festival on the 19th of October.
Using an environmental coalition of organisations, activists, and business together with a mission of making ecofriendly/ healthy menstrual products affordable and available to all.
There are some lovely suggestions in the free toolkit (add link) that we want you to download and share within your networks. Either post it on social or delve in deep and get organising your own event. If you have only a little time what about getting sticker happy and putting some up in the loos.
Of course it’s not just WEN that are on this mission, there are other campaigns focusing on ‘period poverty’ that we would encourage you to read about and get involved with such as:
The Red Box Project – Providing free menstrual products for young women in schools, to ensure that no young woman misses school because she has her period. ‘They work as a nationwide community of women to provide free sanitary products for young women in our local schools’ The red box project, 2018, viewed 23/9/2018
Bloody Good Period – providing free menstrual products for asylum seekers, refugees and those that can’t afford it. According to the website the average lifetime cost of having a period is approximately £4800. ‘We think it’s madness that sanitary products are not free for those who can’t afford them. And don’t even get us started on the tampon tax!
Asylum Seekers receive £37.75per week to live on, they are not allowed to work, and cannot claim any benefits. On top of all this, many people seeking asylum have incredibly heavy periods due to the stress and trauma of being displaced. Bloody Good Period want to alleviate period poverty by giving these products to those who can’t afford them’. Bloody good period, 2017, viewed 23/9/18.
For more on this listen to this podcast with Reni Eddo Lodge about bringing equity into periods and also how to take action while being intersectional.
Also remember EveryMonth – a bloody great campaign in Manchester that is doing incredible work.
Sitting in circle with Rachael
“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you to go to be with your mother, your sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and the great grandmothers….. a place where women go to be and to return to as women? Duerk, J, 2005, Circle of stones: woman’s journey to herself, 10th edn, New world library.
I’ve been hosting our local women’s dark moon Red Tent group, “Red Tent Under The Sacred Bluestones” for over 5 years now prior to which I’ve run women groups and Moon Lodges for over 20 years. Sitting in circle with other women feeds and nourishes us on so many levels- it is somewhere to be heard, held and honoured as women. In our circle we have had stories of loss, break ups, cancer, divorce, miscarriage, pain and heartache, we have celebrated conceptions, births, marriages, menopause, end of breastfeeding….and all the passages of womanhood you can imagine!
Woven into our sharings we have a cycle check in, we sing, drum, chant, meditate, journey, sometimes craft, sometimes we have a topic to dive deeply into, we do clothes swaps, book swaps, give massages and foot rubs, share yummy snacks and just listen to our sisters with open hearts.
I come away from each red tent evening feeling fed and supported on every level!
As part of my menstrual teachings and as the creatress of Moon Times cloth pads www.moontimes.co.uk , I bring samples of my products to show the women, the mothers and their daughters. Interestingly, once women and girls see cloth pads, and touch them, and compare them to the “plasticy sticking plaster” disposable pads, they are all open to giving them a try! The mums often buy themselves a sponge or cup too! When I talk about the chemicals and plastics found in pads, and the fact they take over 500 years to decompose, women are shocked, and often angry that they have never known about alternatives. I have also set up an option on my website to support women who can’t afford menstrual products, here you can purchase a couple of packs of Natracare (organic compostable throwaway pads) which I then send to food banks on your behalf. Or you can remember to pop a packet into the foodbank collection in your local supermarket, often these products just don’t get considered! www.moontimes.co.uk/product/pads-for-uk-food-banks/ 10% off at Moon Times for Red Tent Directory subscribers- use the code “redtent” We are currently fundraising to support 2 red tent sisters with their cancer journey, raising monies to send them on a juicing retreat. Please support by donating here www.rachaelcrow.co.uk/red-tent/