As part of the campaign, Mariam asked women and girls in the Arab region to share their experiences with menstruation through an informal online survey titled ‘My First Period’. The survey aimed to provide a platform for girls and women to share their experiences and feelings when they encountered their first menstrual cycle in the strictest confidence.
Menstruation is not discussed openly. According to a recent UNFPA informal online survey, 40% of participating women and girls did not have any information about the menstruation cycle prior to the first period. In response to a question about their first periods and the accompanying feelings, the majority of participants shared sentiments of fear and worry.
The UNFPA Regional Director for the Arab States, Dr. Luay Shabaneh, noted that gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services in the Arab region affect the ability of girls and women to meet their health and hygiene needs during menstruation in a dignified manner.
Mariam, a 15 years old Arab girl, is here to highlight the struggles, problems, challenges, opportunities, and victories of adolescents and youth within the region.