Meet the brave girls and women taking on taboos around the world
Across the globe, shame, stigma and taboos are still stopping girls and women from achieving their dreams.
Whether it’s sexual health, female genital mutilation (FGM) or periods, a culture of silence prevents girls getting the knowledge they need and talking about the issues that affect their lives the most.
That's why, to mark this year's International Women’s Day, we're celebrating the brave girls and women around the world, creating the change they want to see in their communities.
Melody: the sexual health advocate
Meet Melody. She’s passionate about girls’ rights and ending the silence that surrounds sex, contraception and reproductive rights.
They’re all seen as taboo subjects where she lives in Tanzania – and as a result, sex education in schools has been non-existent.
As an original member of one of Plan International’s youth groups, Melody used her love of drama to help girls and boys tackle gender inequality.
"Several of my friends dropped out of school because they were pregnant. This has inspired me to make a difference,” she explains.
“When we perform it encourages young people and their parents to talk about things they otherwise would not have discussed.”
Madame Agatha: the period educator
In Uganda, periods are often a source of shame and are still surrounded by myths and stigma, as teacher Madame Agatha explains.
“Some say that a menstruating woman should not walk in the garden because the harvest will spoil, or that she should not climb a tree, because the fruit will rot,” she says.
But at Madame Agatha’s school, things have been changing. She leads a Health Club, set up by Plan International, that is breaking down the taboos surrounding periods – and it’s working.
There are more girls than boys at the school, and girls are dropping out less and less now they know what their period is and how to manage it – giving them the chance to stay in school and create a better future for themselves and their families.
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