One in four students has already stopped going to school because there are no tampons in Brazil, according to United Nations (UN) data. in a The new season of the second callPoverty of the menstrual cycle is portrayed by Evelyn (Natalie Rocha), a homeless woman who resumes her studies and is caught stealing toilet paper rolls in the bathroom to control her period. The drama explores the impact of social and economic status on women’s quality of life and education.
According to the NGO Absorbendo Amor, which donates tampons to public schools, the lack of basic resources affects women’s performance in studies. “With no guarantee that clothes will not be stained or that they have a way to go to school on their menstrual days, many women end up staying home and missing important contents or psychic shakes.”
A topic addressed in an almost unprecedented manner on television allows thousands of Brazilians to delve deeper into the issue, which is public health. Says Adriana Weissman, MD, an obstetrician at FMUSP (University of São Paulo School of Medicine).
Globo’s character Natalie Rocha faces these and other issues. In addition to having to hide her dirty outfit, the young woman deals with prejudice due to her social status, but finds a famous sorority as a result of her personal plot. Captured by Antonia (Jennifer Dias) with papers in her bag, the woman argues that she has always been seen as a criminal, but is reluctant to tell her everything she lacks.
After revealing her needs, the homeless woman receives a bag full of tampons donated by her classmates. The scene captivates the audience, especially because of its terrible realistic content.
According to UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), 900,000 Brazilian women do not have access to piped water in their homes, and 6.5 million women live in homes without any connection to the sewage network. School is often the salvation for those women who use unusual means such as newspapers, plastic bags, and cotton to contain menstruation – which is not recommended.
“The danger is causing vaginal infections, recurrent candidiasis, urinary tract infections, as well as allergic skin. These girls often arrive at the health system in terrible physical condition. This is not respectful of women’s health,” warns Adriana. “It’s the risk of death depending on this woman’s access to information and hygiene,” adds researcher Karimi, creator of affective gynecology.
play / globoplay
Natalie Rocha’s character accused of theft
The first step
Draft Law 4968/2019 proposes the Health Absorption Supply Program in public schools serving the last years of primary and secondary school. The text, which has been approved in the House of Representatives and will proceed to presidential approval, states that low-income students will be the main beneficiaries. The basic baskets should have the absorbent material as the main ingredient.
“It’s the first step, but we’re still in its infancy. We don’t know if this will reach all the girls and women who need it. This is a start, but I think in order to work it needs to be a project, an inspection, a care, or General availability of the organs that need care in order to function. And if this is not the case, it is an initiative that continues to help part of the women who need it and leaves the other part in need,” Karimi sees.
Adriana, an obstetrician-gynecologist, explains the changes that will happen if the law goes into effect: “The project will make it easier for girls to go to school, reduce truancy, and improve the intimate health issues of these girls in need. It remains to be seen when it will be put into practice.”
Brake the barriers
Revisiting this issue is important not only to avoid school dropout, but to highlight the gender difference in quality of life. Men have the opportunity to develop and occupy prominent positions in the labor market. On the other hand, women are always judged by their peculiarities: menstruation and pregnancy, for example.
When the series depicts situations like this, it breaks down the stigmas already attributed to women, makes the subject visible, discussed and also contributes so that a portion of the viewers recognize themselves and feel represented. Karimi concludes, “We live in a society designed for man. For the system, developing our own self-knowledge is a risk. Industry does not want us to be independent.”
The six episodes of Season Two of Second Call are available on Globoplay.
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