Steeped in irrational stigma, the topic of menstruation is often considered taboo in even the more educated circles in Sri Lanka. As a result of the cultural shame attached to the subject (period shaming), the underlying dilemma of accessibility to education on proper menstrual hygiene is not given the platform for discussion it deserves. Women are then not afforded the opportunity to air their grievances around the issue, let alone solve it.
The term ‘period poverty’ refers to the lack of access to sanitary products owing to financial constraints, and has long been a prevalent problem in Sri Lanka where commercial locally produced sanitary towels typically sell between Rs 120-175 a pack, and imported brands for about Rs 350. With a large segment of society not being able to afford basic menstrual hygiene products, and additionally unaware of the repercussions of improper usage on health, many women and girls across the country are hindered from going to school, work, and contributing productively to society.
As much as it has been a dedicated advocate for animal, worker, and environmental rights, The Body Shop has also been long invested in gender equality and female empowerment. The Body Shop has joined forces with Oxfam in Sri Lanka in the fight against period poverty and period shaming.
Through education and advocacy, the popular British beauty brand hopes to greatly improve access to hygiene facilities and products, reduce stigma and shame around the topic, and encourage education about menstruation; specifically directed towards vulnerable school-going girls and tea-plucking labourers in the tea estates and rural sectors from Hatton.
As an initiative to ensure women in Sri Lanka are given the right to human dignity, The Body Shop will be donating Rs 5 towards the cause from every transaction made at any of their stores across the island. Additionally, the company is also encouraging its customers to get involved.
Throughout December 2020 and January 2021, those looking to fly the flag of women empowerment even higher can also opt to donate Rs 50 and above, independent of any purchase.
All funds collected will go towards providing Dignity Kits (each comprising of disposable sanitary pads, underwear, rubber slippers, face masks, a towel, an educational menstrual hygiene leaflet, and a calendar) to those women and girls affected the most.
To make the cause all the more worthy, The Body Shop’s latest collection makes gift giving twice as nice! These special edition scents range from body yoghurts to lip scrubs, hand creams to shimmers and mists.
A contemporary twist on the classic Warm Vanilla range, this seasonal favourite is brought back with a rich, warm, sweet, and gourmand range of products formulated with Vanilla extract from Madagascar. The Festive Berry line-up is deliciously fruity with a tangy twist; a heady formula primarily made of cranberry seed oil from North America.
The Winter Jasmine offering, the fresh and light, wintery white floral collection formulated with jasmine extract from India, is sure to bring back all those X’mas feels.
Customers can opt to either Create Your Own Gift pack from any of the products above, or choose from The Body Shop’s pre-packed Christmassy Body Butter Trio, Body Butter Collection, and Hand Cream sets. Either way, a most thoughtful gift for your loved ones, or the perfect prezzie for yourself!
Shop the new seasonal line-up and more from The Body Shop outlets in Colombo (flagship store on Bagatale Road, Colombo City Centre, and at Odel Alexandria Place) and Kandy (Kandy City Centre). Contact 0115765656 for delivery to Colombo & suburbs, and 0774476170 for Kandy & suburbs.
Oxfam conducts awareness programmes in schools in Nuwara-Eliya, Matale and Monaragala on sexual and reproductive health, menstrual cycle, menstruation, myths related to menstruation and menstrual hygiene.