International Day of the Girl (IDG), 2019 will be marking 25 years of progress for girls. In these years, women have pressed several agendas and these movements have expanded. They are being organized by and for adolescent girls, and tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, gender based violence, climate change, self-esteem and girls' rights to enter places of worship, or public places during menstruation. Girls are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable, hence, the theme for IDGC 2019; “Girl force: Unscripted and unstoppable.
Narrowing it down to the local theme for this year's celebration as decided by the Girls’ Education Network (GEN) is “Promoting access, transition and completion of education for girls. Does every girl in Ghana have access? Taking a more critical look at this will reveal that most girls in Ghana are faced with a challenge of taking care of themselves during menstruation. The embarrassment and stigma it comes with prevent them from going to school and engaging in other social activities.
These and many more the Happy School Girl Project sort to address in Ghana. Biologically, menstruation is an important and normal part of the female human life, and humanity exists because of this. Menstrual hygiene is an integral part of hygiene, cleanliness and reproductive health to which every woman and girl has a right. If it is a right, why tax pads? Most girls use unsafe and unhygienic practices during their periods because they are unable to afford safe menstrual hygiene products.
As Ghana joins the world to observe this special day, we call on Government and other stakeholders to heed to our long lasting call of having the tax on sanitary towels removed as well as any material used to produce sanitary pads.
To be unscripted and unstoppable requires confidence in oneself. The girl will only be confident if she is able to manage her menstruation as expected all by herself because she has what it takes. Together let’s fight in ensuring that pads are tax free if not free of charge so that the girl feels confident to access, transit and complete her education without having to put a stop to it for reasons of menstruation and its related issues.
For more information on the Happy School Girl Project call Abena on 0272001006 or visit: www.childonlineafrica.org/happyschoolgirl/ you could also follow and use the official IDG hashtag #BePeriodSmart on Twitter and Facebook.