Over 100,000 sign petition to get menstrual wellbeing taught in schools #WhatIWishIlearned

 

There are 100,000 thousand ways to start this blog: like by thanking every single person who has signed our  change.org petition so far. We’ve reached that magic mark, 100,000 signatures! The petition is gaining real momentum, which is both fantastic and humbling. Over 100,000 thousand people agree that periods shouldn’t be a ‘secret’topic and that menstrual wellbeing should be taught in schools. Thank you, thank you, thank you from myself and all of us at Endometriosis UK!

We're now at a pivotal moment. Tomorrow, 9th January, we meet with Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Standards, to discuss why menstrual wellbeing is so important and to share with him our vision to add menstrual education to the school curriculum. The time is now to raise our voices. We're asking you to please share our petition once again and help us demonstrate to Nick Gibb that this change is one that the public both wants and needs. All you have to do is share this link: bit.ly/MWBschool 

The Government is currently updating its guidance for Sex & Relationship and PSHE lessons in England and Scotland and the content and methodology for that learning and development is up for debate. 1 in 4 girls don’t know what to do when they start their period (including a panicked me all those years ago); 14% of girls cite; “they don’t even know what is happening to them”*. The primary objective of including menstrual wellbeing education into the curriculum is thatallpeople, not just girls, should learn what is normal and safe as a fundamental part of taking care of their physical and mental health and by deduction start to question anything which may not be ‘normal’ in open conversation with friends or family or even educators. Let’s educate the next and each generation about menstruation (lovethat it kinda rhymes) and finally get rid of these frankly ridiculous taboos.

#WhatIWishILearned has had enormous success engaging people and empowering their ‘voice’ to discuss how life may have been different with exactly this kind of education. It has helped us at Endometriosis UK identify what is most important when developing example teaching examples. The campaign doesn’t end once the petition is handed into Government; it continues in macro; in Scotland where their PSHE guidelines are now up for debate and continues in the micro, around our dinner tables and in our classrooms.

I am 23 years old and was diagnosed with endometriosis 9 years ago. Even with the diagnosis so young my body is irreparably damaged. Learning of other people’s journeys and their reflections is both motivating and heart breaking and many of these women feel that a better education from the beginning of their menstrual cycle would have improved their lives and the nature of their condition significantly. It’s all so preventable; this feeling of wishing you had known earlier, been diagnosed earlier, and been able to explain symptoms to friends, families or colleagues.  The only difference between openly talking about the pain from headaches or the pain from periods is the taboo. So let’s normalise it. There’s no logic in leaving the education on menstrual well- being ‘til adult life is there. It starts in childhood and early adolescence, so it’s only logical to start the conversation and learning there.

 There are 32 million women in the UK, that’s 32 million of our daughters, mothers, sisters, wives, best friends and co-workers and 1.5 million of those women have endometriosis now. 100,000 signatures is a cracking starting place –but we’ve still got a long way to go! 

Fly the flag higher, fly it together and start by flying it in school!!

*Statistics from plan International UK’s 2018 report ‘Break the Barriers’