Meghan Markle Wants to Help Women in India Talk About Their Periods Without Shame

"We need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation."

Meghan Markle | ELLE UK
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Meghan Markle (Prince Harry's plus one) has proven her writing chops once again (remember the moving essay she wrote about her firsthand experience with racism?), this time in a piece about the stigma Indian women face for having their periods.

As an ambassador for World Vision, the Suits star visited Delhi, India earlier this year to learn about issues affecting women and young girls in local slum communities. The 35-year-old actress then wrote a piece for Time magazine inspired by her trip—specifically about women's hygiene, healthcare, education, and development in India.

During my time in the field, many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely.

The actress, who is rumored to be leaving her hit TV show in order to settle down with her royal beau, reported that 23 per cent of young women in India drop out of school due to menstruation, and revealed that when a girl misses school due to her period, it cumulatively puts her behind her male contemporaries by 145 days. Which is so, so upsetting.

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Markle elaborates:

As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth, first overcoming female feticide, then being victim to malnourishment, potentially abuse, and lack of access to proper sanitation facilities. Beyond India, in communities all over the globe, young girls' potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world.

As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth.

She concludes the essay urging readers to help women in impoverished regions around the world gain access to education.

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"When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally. If that is our dream for them, then the promise of it must begin with us," she noted.

Markle later posted a picture to Instagram of a poem by U.S.-based writer Nayyirah Waheed, which featured the inspiring lines: "I will tell you, my daughter / of your worth / not your beauty / everyday (your beauty is a given. every being is born beautiful) / knowing your worth/ can save your life."

Meghan captioned the post: "To always knowing your worth." 👏

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Katie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK. On a daily basis you’ll find her managing all digital workflow, editing site, video and social media content, liaising with commercial and sales teams on new partnerships and deals, implementing new digital strategies and compiling endless data traffic, SEO and ecomm reports. Since joining in 2016, Katie has written features on everything from sex addiction, and the use of tear gas during protests to virtual cuddling, ‘friendship fade’ and access to contraception post Brexit. Her list of interviewees over the years include those with Oprah Winfrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz etc.