Black Lawyers Association press release: Government has a duty to provide women with sanitary towels

On the 18th July 2016 Black Lawyers Association (BLA) celebrated the National Mandela Day at Ekhokhokhweni School in Hlau-Hlau village near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga Province. BLA chose this village due to high number of indigent learners who are registered with the school. BLA members spend their 67 minutes in commemoration of Mandela Day with the teachers, students and surrounding communities. The school was provided with over 1000 sanitary towels for distribution to the young needy school girls.

We chose sanitary towel project as all women are, by nature, compelled to use sanitary towels at one stage or another. Menstrual cycle does not discriminate the poor from the rich, it happens to all. It is a reality that monthly periods to poor young girls have the potential of interfering with their schooling activities, temporarily or for good. Further that, if not well managed it can compromise their dignity, worth and their psychological wellbeing. Some children, when on their monthly periods, choose to stay home than to go to school and embarrass themselves due to lack of sanitary towels.

Those who go to school and mess their uniforms end up not being confident with themselves and at times leave school. It is on this basis that BLA joins hands with all the other organisations and individuals who have made it their project to make the difference by supplying sanitary towels to different schools and the needy females. We encourage them to continue doing the good work.

BLA views purchasing of sanitary towels as both a burden and an act discrimination to women because only them are forced to use such towels as they do not see their dates out of choice. They are by nature compelled to so. Under the circumstances all women are, because of situation beyond their control, forced to spend their money more than their male counterpart on things they cannot choose not to buy. This places women, financially, in a worse position when compared to men. It is, therefore on this basis that, BLA is of the view that sanitary towels should be made available to all women irrespective of their financial position and age.

In order to balance this inequality Government should step in and provide women with sanitary towels. In the words of Nelson Mandela himself, “[t]he time is always right to do right.” The right time is now. Until such time the Government starts to provide all women with sanitary towels women will remain financially oppressed. Until that time we implore upon all good hearted South Africans and institutions to continue in their good work.

BLA will in the near future engage all the three spheres of Government – Local, Provincial and National government – in this subject to join hands make a difference in the lives of all women.


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