More young girls in Indonesia are skipping school when they’re on their period to avoid the taunts of boys in the classroom. When children’s rights organization, UNICEF, caught on to this, they came up with a solution to educate the boys about how this process is normal: a 10-page comic book.
NPR reports that the comic acts as a guide to show boys that menstruating is a normal process for every woman, even their mothers. But that’s not all, on the other side of the reversible comic is a guide to debunking myths about menstruating for young girls. It includes instructions on how to put on a pad and despite the popular Indonesian belief, you can wash your hair while on your period.
Image courtesy of UNICEF Indonesia
The comic also addresses an ongoing problem with the number of bathrooms available in schools. According to UNICEF’s study, 1 in 6 Indonesian girls skipped school while on their period to avoid comments from other students and because there is only 1 toilet per 100 students on average. This is listed as another reason for young boys to not bully a girl if she is seen covering her pants, and why girls should not be ashamed of having their period in school.
UNICEF members met with 100 boys and girls ages 10-14 as well as parents and teachers to tailor the comic to what exactly they believe about the menstruation cycle, and it has paid off. After circulating the comic to about 4,000 boys and girls, the boys’ knowledge that a woman’s cycle is normal jumped from 61 percent to 89 percent, and the percentage of boys that feel it’s wrong to make fun of a woman on her period increased from 61 percent to 95 percent. Other results concluded that after reading the comic, less girls felt that they had to keep their periods a secret.
For more information, you can watch a video UNICEF made based off of the comic below!
Featured image courtesy of Youtube