Girls Discriminated Against For Menstruation (And What You Can Do About It)

13 07 2011

My previous post was on a Toronto school allowing Muslim prayers to take place during the period following lunch.  Now, thanks to an article in the Toronto Star, we have even more reason to be opposed to what is taking place.  The previous story had alleged that students were being seperated by gender.  There is now photographic evidence of this:

The girls sitting at the back during Friday prayers are menstruating and not allowed to sit with everyone else.

Feminism is my credo, and my eye was instantly drawn to the fact that girls are placed in the back, behind the boys, separated by benches used as shields.

And menstruating girls are segregated, off in their own little group…

Stigmatized, bleeding mysteriously and bewildered by maternal instructions, these girls are not allowed to pray (I am told other religions require this as well). You can see them in the Star’s photograph, the boys at the front, the girls hidden behind, flattened in prayer, and the girls with periods sitting cross-legged or kneeling.

These girls are in grades 7 and 8. OMG I am like totally remembering myself at that age and I would like have died of embarrassment except that I noticed even then that no one ever actually does. That’s unfortunate.

School should be about teaching equality between the sexes.  That one is not suprerior to another and that the natural functions of the body are not grounds for discrimination.

At a young age, these women are already being told that their worth is less of that than their male counter-parts.  In a society that puts enough pressure on women as it is, the actions of this school and the religious leaders are simply deplorable.  Disucssions regarding menstration are challenging as it is.  If school is about education, then it needs to educate, not discriminate.

Mallick describes how the West is still opening up to discussions around this bodily function:

I speak as a person who loves being female, but it is a huge drag on your career, carries with it a constant threat of violence and is, well, exhausting. Men are one thing but other females can be even more tiring. Plus you get your period around age 11-13 and how this event is handled casts a shade, good or bad, on the arc of your development as a female.

Men know nothing about this. Tina Fey in her new book of essays, Bossypants, recalls trying to get a comedy sketch about feminine napkin advertising past the male writers at Saturday Night Live. She was describing the horror of being a young girl wearing what felt like a saddle with, of all things, belts (I am not making this up. Thankfully, they use strips now that adhere to your underwear).

She discovered that the men weren’t opposed to the sketch because they were guys. They simply had no idea what she was talking about. It did not occur to them that all women start out with this level of humiliation. You worried about leaks? Huh?

I assumed things had improved for young girls, which has always been the only true point of feminism, to make things better for them. But little has changed. I don’t think modern mothers necessarily teach their daughters about that glorious invention, the tampon.

The girls at this school aren’t toughened for ridicule, which is only part of the reason I hate their being singled out for a female function we are still learning to discuss openly in the modern West.

Mallick closes her article by asking if anyone else will stand up for the young girls that are too shy to stand up alone.  She mentions school board trustee Michael Coteau, who has expressed his desire to see the prayer service follow the gender-equity rules of the school (I know.  The ideal would be to have the prayer sessions removed from the school).  You can e-mail Coteau to express your desire to see the rules respected.  It’s up to you if you want to make a point about the seperation of Church and State.

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6 responses

13 07 2011
DZUL

AsalamuALLAHiku.
wr. wb

ALLAH HAS CREATED FIRST HUMAN COUPLE PROPHETS IN GARDEN PARADISE ABOVE SKIES CALLED
ADAM ( MALE WITH HIS PENIS )
&
HAWA=EVA ( FEMALE WITH HER VAGINA & SWELL BREAST FOR FEED HER BABY BOYS/GIRLS )

ALLAH HAS DESCRIBED CLEARLY IN AL’QURAN
HOW TO TREAT
FEMALE’S GENDER
WHEN HER PERIOD MENSTRUATION or PREGNANCY COMES
IN ALLAH LAWS THAT SHE FORBIDS
TO DO PRAY
OR TO DO FASTING IN HOLY MONTH OF RAMADAN

FOR MORE INFO YOU SHOULD READ AL’QURAN BY YOURSELF > OKAY

NOW MY QUESTION BACK TO YOU:

HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR FATHER GOT PREGNANT BY YOUR MOTHER ?

YOU THINK YOU WERE SO CLEVER BUT YOU KNOW YOU ARE DRUNKARD IDIOT OR JUST INSANE

SAME SEX RIGHGTS AS TURD INSIDE YOUR BRAIN DAMAGED CAUSED TOO MUCH HALLUCINATION

13 07 2011
winghamatheist

LOL

13 07 2011
Douglas Harder

I am currently the victim of Poe’s law. I honestly hope this is not a real Muslim. I honestly hope that this is a pathetic and not-really-too-clever spoof.

13 07 2011
Melissa Rafiq

I am utterly horrified by this practice (and have messaged Coteau). I can’t imagine how anyone with three brain cells to rub together can support this nonsense in PUBLIC schools. I don’t care what allah’s laws state, what I care about is the rules and gender equality.

14 07 2011
Tj H

“allah states” my ass. As much as I have studied religious philosophy, I can tell you one thing for certain, both the original intent of any religious philosophy as well as what was originally taught (which could be taken as “the word of ” – i mean if you wanna take this all as a figuritive) is, I find more or less the same. It is the later people that insert things. Usually any differences can be or are understandable, due to the circumstances under which it evolved. Arguably Islam has a lot more to say about politics and such things than other religions, this was because it evolved during a time of a lot of political undercurrents. I am sure at some point the Sharia evolved to ask for gender segregation, and I am also sure it made some sense during that time, given the nature of science and knowledge most people had about these things. But we are beyond that now, we are advanced enough past that to not have such things, learn to evolve. I see this in many facets of life, where people take things that made sense hundreds of years ago, like labour segregation (caste system) or gender seperation, or even asking people to be left alone during “that time of the month” ( I cannot imagine there was a lot you could do if you are bleeding during that period, you didn’t have conveniences that afforded you to be able to function even during your period…again im not a female, so I can’t say, but I like to give people the benifit of the doubt on these things). It wasn’t right then, but I suppose they did not know better, or had no other way. But we do, and we do have other ways, so why people still cling to archaic practices is beyond me (well I know why, but I don’t get how adamant people are about these things).

That being said, I am no muslim, nor have I studied as much Islam religion and philosophy as I would like to, but I can gaurentee you that this practice would flabergast Muhamed himself, merely because he does indeed (whether or not he was actually some sort of divine person) at least seem to be an intelligent and wise man.

10 11 2013
Tomoko

Are you passionate about Gender Equality, Education, or Human Rights?
Did you know that numerous Tanzanian girls are being forced to drop out of school and give up on their education when they get their periods, just because of the school’s lack of sanitary facilities?

Sign the petition of the link below (initiated and run by me) to encourage the Tanzanian government to enforce and monitor the National Sanitation and Hygiene Policy, so that girls are able to continue with the education that they deserve. All it requires is one click, to agree to this great cause and leave a signature – it’s not about donations or money; everyone anywhere can make a difference. I need your help! (Also I promise that although you will have to share your name to sign the petition, the site is reliable and won’t spam you)
Interested to learn more? For further information about this issue of how the educations of Tanzanian girls are affected by menstruation, visit my website.
Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/provide-quality-sanitary-facilities-in-schools-for-tanzanian-girls-to-continue-with-their-education

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