I’m proud that the team have pushed through this week and these are the reasons I keep going even in a slump. But there’s something else that has amazed me with the editorial over the last week and that’s how willing they are to help others that aren’t just temporarily down but in a constant struggle.
Two Fridays ago, Pick ‘n’ Pay had a sale on sanitary pads. The items, which usually cost R60, were marked down to R10 and customers were encouraged to buy and donate these products to those who can’t afford them. This lead to many interesting discussions in our office. These discussions struck me firstly because I realised just how little the men knew, but secondly because I was impressed with the way in which the men were willing to engage on the topic, learn, and go out and buy for women in need.
The fact that I was impressed by the attitudes of the men points to the real problem though: I shouldn’t have been impressed because their willingness to engage and help out shouldn’t be the exception.
To put it into a bit more context for those that aren’t aware, sanitary products are expensive. R60 as a retail price is the norm and no, tampons are not cheaper than pads. These aren’t a once-off buy either and one pack of pads isn’t guaranteed to last an entire cycle. But these products are an absolute necessity – there is no way that a girl or women can go a month without them, but many do because they don’t have the money. Many girls and women stay away from school and work because they don’t have access to basic hygiene products or are forced to use rudimentary alternatives that are dangerous, uncomfortable and humiliating.
Women don’t get to choose whether they have a period and while we may all not choose to get hungry and thirsty, the fact is that men never have to deal with this extra stress factor.
What men do get to choose though is whether you acknowledge the issue at hand. I often say there’s is no better picture of camaraderie than when girls go to the bathroom and suddenly one is in unsuspected need of a tampon. In the same breath we can praise the man at the Engen at midnight who has been sent shopping by his girlfriend.
I’m glad to see the change in mind-set about these issues on campus already but more people need to step up to the plate to help out women in a slump. It’s far worse than extreme amounts of homework and it has an effect on them physically, emotionally and mentally. A little compassion and kindness will restore a whole lot more than comfort for these women and allow them to approach each period with dignity. I’d like to encourage you all to help out organisations on campus like Pledge-a-Pad that aims to pull women in need out of their slump.
On the topic of change, this edition is all about it. The change in city leadership is explored on page 7 and the AreWeSafe campaign, which aims to tackle a number of areas that need social change, is introduced on page 3. There is also change in prominent sporting codes and our sport section show us what we can look forward to over the next few weeks. Change is always a good idea and if you think it’s time for a change, you can learn how to develop yourself culturally with our “Culture cultivators” article on page 9.
We’ll be back with force next week for our spring edition.