On Menstruation and Charities

I know it’s probably unlikely, but for those of you with some extra funds kicking around, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof has some charitable suggestions.

This year, I decided to give away some found money. Some of it went to Philabundance, and another portion went to City Kitties. Both are organizations that serve the Philadelphia area. The last portion went to one of Kristof’s susggestions: Sustainable Health Enterprises or SHE.

SHE’s goal is to provide low cost menstrual pads to girls in developing countries in an attempt to keep them in school. Apparently, many girls miss school during their periods because of inadequate menstrual supplies. I chose this program over the one Lunapads is associated with because—while I like the Lunapads products—SHE pointed out that the absence of clean water and soap is often a problem in the developing world. The lack of clean water makes reusable pads or menstrual cups a potential source of infection.

As at least one study has pointed out though, providing girls with menstrual supplies may not be enough to keep them in school. The comments on Kristof’s blog post about the article provide some hypotheses as to why.

Despite this study, I’ve chosen to donate to SHE because I think it’s important to talk about and to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.

Girls are good at math

A recent study found that the disparities between boys and girls in math are related to gender inequality. The article is available for free if you follow the link provided on the abstract page.

Of course, you should have known that already.

This post refers to:

Janet S Hyde and Janet E Mertz, “Gender, culture, and mathematics performance,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, no. 22 (June 2, 2009): 8801-8807, doi:10.1073/pnas.0901265106.

Japan’s new prime minister

Today’s NYT has an article about the new Japanese prime minister and his cabinet. An excerpt:

Another [cabinet member] was the education adviser, Eriko Yamatani, 56, a critic of sex education and the teaching of “excessive” equality of the sexes in schools.

The new state minister in charge of sex equality, Sanae Takaichi, 45, has opposed allowing women to have different legal family names from their husbands, a freedom women sued to win in the late 1980’s.

This post refers to:

Fackler, Martin. New Premier Seeks a Japan With Muscle and a Voice. New York Times. September 27, 2006.