Dominika Kulczyk: Menstruation is a miracle of life

Tenderness and freedom

It's these pains and hardships that make us complete. We know that after pain there comes relief. We practice the unpredictability of life every day through our bodies. It is easier for us to recover from defeats. We carry readiness for change within us.

Menstruation, which means readiness for new life, should be a moment of celebration. Unfortunately, instead it becomes humiliation for women around the world.

Sexuality is a form of celebration of life, not a shameful part of it. Men and women who celebrate the birth of a child also humiliate women when they are on their period. Why so? Because that's what tradition says?

A girl who misses school because of menstruation will always be convinced that she is less worthy than boys - because only girls get periods and cannot attend school as regularly as boys. That girl skips on classes, resulting in worse grades, worse qualifications, and ultimately doesn’t make it to further education. Ends up with no job, or a worse position, earning less than her peers. There is always less of her - in the family, in the village, in society and in the world. And then the world is more masculine then feminine.

When I visited Nepal I went to a local school. During one of the lessons the teacher was explaining how the female body works, and there was courage and curiosity in the girls. The boys were lost, ashamed, looked at the anatomical boards with fear. But there was neither aggression nor contempt nor resentment. I hope that after one, two, three lessons like this, these boys will treat their menstruating mothers, sisters and friends as experiencing a natural process, not a moment to banish them to a menstrual hut. On the contrary, they will ask: "Sister, can I help you somehow? Should I bring you a sanitary pad?”.

All you have to do is give a girl a sanitary pad or a chance to produce it - and you change her life. She is more likely to go to school without missing classes, get better grades, and end up with a better job. She has not seven, but two children, her own money, an independence from her husband. She can leave the house, get on a bus, go to the city, do whatever she wants. She’s not a slave. Sanitary pads give freedom.

We also need a change in Poland where menstrual taboos and myths are common. We need to end the stigma around periods. Women must understand that their body and mind are one great harmony. Everything that happens to a woman is good when she lives in harmony with nature. Real men who respect nature and other people should support that nature in women.





Dominika Kulczyk
  • An entrepreneur, philanthropist, president of the Kulczyk Foundation. As part of the "Domino Effect" docuseries she has covered period poverty and menstrual myths in Nepal and India. Her organisation, Kulczyk Foundation, deals with supporting women's freedom in the areas of mental and physical health, as well as financial stability.

The article was published in "Magazyn Świąteczny” of "Gazeta Wyborcza” from 23-24 May 2020