Voices from Russia

Monday, 15 January 2018

Another Cultural Myth That Must Go: Menstruating Women Told Not to Cross River

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Beliefs can be useful… if they help. In Ghana, some beliefs are decidedly not helping. In a nod to the persistence of cultural taboos surrounding the natural process of menstruation, many women and girls can’t travel or go to school because a river god decreed… although they haven’t made the decree public… that they may not cross during their normal monthly biological cycle. The River Ofin, a boundary between the Ashanti and Central Regions of Ghana, supposedly has a guardian god who… if you can believe certain regional officials… decreed that women and girls couldn’t cross while menstruating, preventing vital travel and school attendance. Shamima Muslim Alhassan, the UNESCO menstrual hygiene ambassador, noted that the apparently anonymous deity travel directive is a violation of women’s rights and a violation of a child’s right to education:

It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they? I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods.

According to the BBC, Kwamena Duncan, the Ghanian Central Regional Minister, indicated that he’d take the matter seriously by speaking to an Ashanti regional minister to find a solution.

Formed in 1946, UNESCO is the UN humanitarian assistance provider for children and mothers in developing countries. It estimates that at least one in ten female students in the region isn’t able to attend school when they menstruate. A recent World Bank report also notes that over 11 million women in Ghana lack appropriate hygiene and sanitation resources. Human rights issues resulting from cultural myths surrounding the biological process of menstruation persist, including in the island nation of Madagascar, where women are taught to avoid bathing during their period, and in rural areas of mountainous Nepal, where menstruating women must sleep in huts away from family.

15 January 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/africa/201801151060751990-myths-surrounding-the-human-body/

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