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Support Menstruation Health at School as a Boy to Support Gender Equality

jeanes dengan vest plan indonesia duduk di dalam ruang kelas

Menstruation is normal for girls and women. Menstruation signals that a woman is biologically ready to conceive. Usually, menstruation begins to occur at the age of 12 years, but it may happen earlier, namely eight years.

Unfortunately, limited understanding has made menstruation a subject of bullying among school children. For example, when students’ menstrual blood ‘seeps’ on their skirts, girls often experience bullying. This results in psychological problems; for example, children become embarrassed and don’t want to go to school, which results in reduced opportunities to learn and play with their peers at school.

The Importance of Menstrual Knowledge

One reason is that parents are confused about explaining menstruation to their children. There are even parents who think that menstruation does not need to be presented to boys because it is inappropriate or taboo. However, without realizing it, such assumptions provide vulnerability for girls both psychologically and physically, both those who have experienced menstruation and those who have not.

Knowledge of menstruation in children should not be a topic that is only discussed once the child has experienced it. On the other hand, parents must be able to discuss this problem as early as possible with their children. Mother and father can start inviting them to discussions when they are six or seven. Not only girls but boys also have to understand the changes in women.

The most important thing here is that, as parents, you need to understand that bullying is part of the treatment that causes gender equality between women and men.

Promoting Gender Equality at School

Regarding gender inequality in the context of bullying against girls who experience menstruation, Jeanes, 11 years old, a male student at an elementary school in Manggarai Regency, said that gender equality is an important thing to be realized in the school environment. According to him, gender equality must be fought for because it is one form of manifestation in efforts to improve the status of women.

“If a female friend is having her period, men should not laugh at her, make fun of her, or even insult her. “Good deeds like this will certainly make girls less embarrassed when they enter their menstrual period because this period is normal,” said Jeanes.

As a peer educator at Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia), Jeanes strongly supports men’s engagement in realizing gender equality in schools. Not only do you not bully girls who are menstruating, but concrete forms of supporting gender equality can also be implemented in other forms of activities.

For example, in carrying out daily picket duties in the classroom, cleaning the classroom, such as sweeping, picking up rubbish and so on, should not only be done by women.

Another example of change is the election of the class president. Previously, the position of the class president had to be led by a man, but now, the class president can also be led by a woman. Likewise, women can also carry out roles like that during the ceremony.

According to Jeanes, initiatives in and through schools are critical to stop the continuation of gender inequality. Schools have enormous potential to influence change in gender relationships, perspectives and practices and create a generation of gender-sensitive and gender-equal men and women. However, to make this happen, the role of parents, teachers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or the government is necessary.

Become Plan Indonesia’s Peer Educator

One of them, Plan Indonesia, which always actively supports gender equality in the school environment, has provided a lot of experience and knowledge that is very useful for school children.

Jeanes herself felt this. “As a peer educator, I have participated in various activities initiated by Plan Indonesia, especially the menstrual hygiene management campaign in Manggarai Regency, which has opened up the boys’ insight and perspective that women and men have the same position,” he explained.

Jeanes hopes that efforts to realize gender equality can be put into practice from an early age so that when they grow up, women will continue to be respected, especially by men.

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