GWERU- As the economic situation in the country deteriorates with prices of most basic goods and services meteorically rising to unprecedented levels, the sanitary pads for women have become unreachable and many are said to be now using cow dung as an alternative.
Speaking at the Day of the Girl Child programme recently, Midlands State University (MSU) Associate Professor, Irene Muzvidziwa, said most women and girls are facing challenges in securing sanitary pads and have opted for unsafe methods.
“Many girls and women are putting themselves at a sexual reproductive health risk during their mensural period through substituting proper sanitary wear with cow dung, leaves, or clothes just because sanitary wear has just become expensive,” said Muzvidziwa.
She said that the patriarchal classification in the society was at the forefront of hindering the development of the girl child in all spheres of life.
“Cultural and patriarchal systems in our society perpetuate gender imbalances which then hinders the development of the girl child in all circles hence the worth of a girl child is then ignored. The same fate befalls them on issues such as early marriage, sexual abuse, right to education and expensive sanitary wear.
“Young women are further being sucked into the culture of “blessers” to end economic hardships but it leaves them vulnerable to abuse .I am calling upon stakeholders to come together and strategize mechanism to combat these issues, men join in the women's movement and take lead in our society.” said Muzvidziwa.
Young Women Christian Alliance’s (YWCA) national general secretary, Muchanyara Mukamuri urged young girls to shun peer pressure and sexual activities before marriage.
“The economy is hard and this has a negative impact on the girl child. Most girls tend to succumb to peer pressure to make ends meet. They open themselves to abuse just to access the basic needs.
“We plead with the government to subsidize the prices of sanitary pads to save our girls and women. The substitutes being used are a danger to women. There are perverts who take advantage of desperate girls and abuse them. Parents should be on the lookout,” said Mukamuri.