AMPLIFYING DIGNITY THROUGH THE MEDIA: EMPOWERING JOURNALISTS IN THE QUEST FOR DIGNIFIED MENSTRUATION
Written by Abigail Lennox: A Ph.D. Researcher affiliated with the University of East London (UEL) and the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC).
Introduction: Illuminating Dignified Menstruation through Media Advocacy
In the heart of Nepal, a new chapter unfolded as I delved deeper into the work of the Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation. Throughout June, I had the privilege to engage with their initiatives, further expanding my understanding of their efforts. One highlight of this journey was participating in the “Media Fellowship on Dignified Menstruation,” a three-day workshop designed to equip journalists with the tools and knowledge needed to advocate for dignified menstruation through their influential platforms.
Day One: Dispelling Myths and Mapping Impact
Bringing together a diverse group of journalists from various corners of Nepal, the opening day of the workshop marked the beginning of a transformative experience. These journalists, armed with the potent tools of the written word and photography, were eager to explore dignified menstruation.
The day commenced with an interactive quiz to debunk common misconceptions and falsehoods perpetuating the stigma surrounding menstruation. This engaging session reinforced the importance of accurate information in reshaping perceptions.
As the sun painted the sky in shades of orange, the journalists delved into the concept of “menstrual mapping.” Armed with pens and notebooks, they embarked on a journey to understand the different dimensions of menstruation in communities, schools, media, and government. Through this activity, a rich tapestry emerged, interwoven with challenges, inequalities, and narratives that deserved to be shared.
During discussions, it became evident that these journalists were not passive spectators; they had transformed into agents of change. Their commitment to reshaping conversations about menstruation and its dignity was palpable.
Day Two: Framing Discussions, Addressing Discrimination, and Harnessing Media’s Influence
The second day of the workshop was a deep dive into the art of “shaping discussions.” Journalists directed their attention toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to uncover the intricate links between dignified menstruation and these goals across global, national, local, and personal dimensions. This exploration unearthed a pivotal realization: dignified menstruation is not an isolated concern; it is intricately intertwined with human rights, equality, and sustainability.
The conversation then pivoted towards the painful reality of menstrual discrimination. Through shared experiences and narratives, the journalists delved into the realm of shame, exclusion, and injustice faced by many menstruators. Their resolve to illuminate these stories was palpable, underscoring their dedication to dismantling the detrimental forces that perpetuate discrimination.
As the day progressed, the focus turned to the media’s role in advocating for dignified menstruation. Journalists pondered the impact of their words, images, and stories. Acknowledging the responsibility that came with their influence, they embraced this duty with unwavering dedication. Each journalist was tasked with researching a specific area of menstruation, solidifying their commitment to becoming catalysts for change through precise and impactful reporting.
A Special Visit: Conversations with the Health Minister
A unique highlight emerged when the workshop welcomed an esteemed guest: the Health Minister from Province 3. This visit provided an exceptional opportunity for journalists to engage in an open conversation, sharing insights and experiences from the workshop. Their voices united to urge increased attention towards dignified menstruation within government agendas. The presence of the Health Minister underscored the gravity of the issue. It renewed the journalists’ hope for policy-level transformations.
Conclusion: A Fresh Perspective Takes Flight
As the workshop culminated, a renewed sense of purpose permeated the atmosphere. The journalists had transitioned from passive observers to active contributors in the journey towards dignified menstruation. Armed with knowledge, empathy, and a commitment to truth-telling, they were ready to reshape the narrative surrounding menstruation.
The media’s influence is profound. Through their words, photos, and stories, these journalists possess the ability to reshape public perceptions, challenge norms, and inspire change. They stand on the threshold of a new era where dignified menstruation is not an abstract concept but a lived reality for all.
As they continue their work within the media landscape, these journalists carry the torch of transformation. Their stories will pierce through the shadows that have long veiled menstruation, revealing the inherent dignity of this natural bodily process. With each article, photo, and voice amplified, they draw closer to a world where menstruation is celebrated, not concealed.
The journey is ongoing, and obstacles persist, yet the media fellowship has sowed the seeds of change. As they embark on individual yet united quests for menstrual equity, these journalists share a collective purpose—to amplify marginalised voices, debunk myths, and uphold dignity. In doing so, they weave a fresh narrative redefining menstruation for generations.