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New Documentary Spotlights Nairobi's Days For Girls

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As I write this, approximately 800 million women and girls in the world are menstruating. Despite the commonness of the occurrence, however, many are still forced to do so clandestinely, and in shame. Sadly, menstruation is in some ways the last great taboo, and that's no hyperbole: indeed, nearly half of women have no foreknowledge of the condition before their first menstrual cycle.

Thankfully, a groundbreaking new documentary is working to change all that: produced and directed by a predominantly female team, Pandora’s Box may be the first feature-length documentary film to focus on menstrual rights. The film zeroes in on the introduction of reusable pads, and puts a light on the work of another women-driven enterprise in Nairobi called Days for Girls. The outfit is operated by a Kenyan mother who understands the issue all too well, having once been forced to prostitute herself to get sanitary products as a teenager. Under Celeste Mergens' able leadership, Days For Girls has been working to increase girls' access to menstrual care since 2008. Among their other initiatives, they've created unique reusable pads with bright, colorful patterns, a novel solution addressing the stigma attached to menstruation.

For more about the documentary, Days For Girls, and this pressing issue for girls and women around the world, check out the recent Macleans feature story.

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