Today, there are a variety of methods women can choose in order to fully power through their menstrual cycles. Menstrual manipulation methods such as IUD implants and oral contraceptives, and feminine hygiene products like underwear designed for periods and tampons are all seemingly effective tools. However, women with disabilities or physical constraints are limited to these seemingly “usable” products and are forced to implement stricter daily schedules when experiencing their menstrual cycles.
Management of menstrual cycles can become a frustrating and debilitating topic for women with physical constraints or disabilities. Besides the general annoyance of cramps and aches, women with physical constraints or disabilities must navigate how to properly manage their symptoms in a timely fashion. Most women are able to change/properly take care of their tampon, pad, or other feminine hygiene product by simply excusing themselves and heading to a bathroom. In contrast, women with physical constraints or disabilities are imposed to plan activities around their cycles in order to ensure someone is there to properly help them through the management of their symptoms.
In order to ensure seamless menstrual cycle experiences for all women, efforts of inclusivity must be better implemented into different aspects of society. The navigation of menstrual cycles for women with physical constraints or disabilities can be made more ideal with the establishment of the following inclusive applications in society:
- Invest in resources and educational tools specifically designed for women and girls with disabilities and physical constraints. In order to fully conquer the misconceptions revolving around disability and menstrual cycles, educational tools must be altered in order to better cover a more diverse global population. These informative educational tools should be used to teach health professionals, educators, and general members of society how to properly offer guidance through the menstrual cycle process.
- Furthering on the first point, it is important to note that these educational resources must be made available on a global scale. As Americans, we often limit our actions/thoughts specifically to how changes in society will directly affect our country’s population. These thought limitations must be altered in order to best account for women on a global scale.
- Support businesses that are founded on inclusive values. Today, consumers are fortunate to find apparel brands that produce specialized products to best meet the needs of the entirety of their customers. Consumer investments in inclusive apparel companies are imperative in order to support the furthering of inclusive practices in the apparel industry.
- Strive to show empathy and compassion for all those around you. As individuals, we are able to change the course of our thoughts and actions instantaneously. In order to better society as a whole, we, as individuals, must start by changing our attitudes and actions on an individual scale.
Inclusivity must be the main focus in the gain of awareness for this specific topic. One quarter of the global population, adolescents to adults, have some sort of menstruation cycle. These cycles are difficult to manage for everyone, but for some, they are made even more difficult to navigate. In society, there are a variety of misconceptions revolving around women with disabilities and their menstruation cycles. In order to fully conquer these misconceptions, we, as a team, are using our platform to give our customers a louder voice.
For more information on this topic, Prevention Meets Fashion (@preventionmeetsfashion) is hosting a free workshop via Zoom on November 16th from 7-8 p.m. EST. This event features a special guest who will discuss their personal experience of navigating through menstrual cycles with a visual disability. Registration for the event can be found on Prevention Meets Fashion’s EventBrite page. We, at Slick Chicks, are delighted to support Prevention Meets Fashion’s cause and look forward to learning more from them as an organization.