Thousands of menstrual cups distributed to secondary school students
Sexual education initiative will be tested at 24 centers, to be extended to the rest next year
The Catalan Government has begun distributing reusable menstrual cups, as well as absorbent underwear and a sanitary towel, to 1,200 third-year secondary school students from 24 schools as part of a new sexual education initiative.
The distribution will be accompanied by menstrual education training sessions given by midwives to 2,600 third-year students at the selected schools.
This is a pilot test of the project 'My period, my rules', which will be extended to all institutes next year. In this first phase of the project, more than 1,200 girls, trans boys and non-binary people will receive a case with a menstrual cup, absorbent underwear and a reusable pad.
At the same time, more than 2,600 third-year secondary boys and girls, equivalent to 9th Grade in the USA or Year 10 in the UK, will receive a training session to improve their sexual education.
22 students at the Institut Montjuïc in Barcelona received their cases on Thursday. Most commented that they had never used such products before, but would be willing to try them. "It's going to be like a new experience," said student Jana, "to see if it's more comfortable than the tampons I use."
These 22 students also received the first of the menstrual education sessions, with the boys in the class also present. “I think it’s very interesting for the boys to learn how the rule works so as not to make our mothers and sisters uncomfortable,” said Deivid, a classmate of Jana.
The first implementation phase costs nearly €70,000, whereas the next is predicted to be around €1.2m.
The Minister for Equality, Tània Verge, has pointed out that menstruating should no longer still be "a cause for shame, generating rejection and stigma" adding that "men also need to know about menstruation."
Similarly, the Minister has called to "stop normalizing period pain" because, she warned, it "could be a symptom of a disease, such as endometriosis, which between 10 and 15% of women suffer from."
Reusable vs non-reusable
Verge also pointed out that the health risks of non-reusable products, especially those that are not organic, should be taken "seriously".
She stressed that the project 'My period, my rules' shows that the "feminist, social and green transformation" go together.
The minister said that the initiative promotes "social justice, which means equal access to long-lasting products" and "empowerment to eradicate taboos and choose the products that best suit the needs and comfort" of each person.
Four out of ten women have not been able to afford the menstrual product of their choice, according to a study carried out by the Jordi Gol i Gurina University Institute for Research in Primary Care. Furthermore, 58% of girls have received little to no menstrual education before their first period.
The minister also highlighted the financial benefits of reusable menstrual products: according to data from Rezero, a menstruating person who uses disposable products throughout their life will spend an average of €2,500 in tampons and pads, while products such as cups would be only €144.