April 26, the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Auxillia Mnangagwa made a statement that will likely resonate well with girls from a poor background in the country. Mrs. Mnangagwa urged the government of Zimbabwe to move steadfast and drop the prices of sanitary towels.
She made that statement during the official launch event of the Girls Get Equal Initiative sponsored by the Plan International Zimbabwe. The event was held at the National Arts gallery at the capital, Harare.
Already, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance has scrapped the duty that was earlier imposed on the sanitary towels. Mrs. Mnangagwa now wants the government to do more, as the scrapping of the duty alone did not give the desired effect of the all too important sanitary tool become affordable to all girls.
“We have seen the ministry of finance making a positive move to support menstrual hygiene management for girls by suspending duty on sanitary wear imports,” said Mrs. Mnangagwa.
“However, the experience of women and girls is that sanitary wear is still too expensive. We need to do more, even the scrapping of prices of this noble cause.”
Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, the CEO of Rozaria Memorial Trust, an organization that works with girls in rural parts of Zimbabwe added that there is a need to maintain advocacy for menstrual health. As the issue leads to not just loss of dignity to the girls and women, but also denies them opportunities to advance their socio-economic status.
“Girls must be able to have sanitary wear so that we stop using rags like what we used to do during our time when we did not have them,” said Gumbonzvanda.
“They must be available for girls and they must be free because there is no way that they can afford them since some do not even go to school.
So we need to continue to advocate for government policy around menstrual wear and ensuring that they have dignity when the girls have their periods.”
Related: Affordable eco-friendly Sanitary Towels made from Sugarcane
1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school due to menstruation, start lagging behind and eventually drop out