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Education is power: A Word of Advice from a Period Advocate

Candice Chirwa | 5.23.2022

Candice Chirwa: A Period Powerhouse

Candice Chirwa (she/her) is a Period Powerhouse who fights for period rights day in and day out. We are excited to host an IG Live with her on May 24th for a special talk called, “We All Bleed: South Africa vs the World”.

Introduce yourself! Who are you & what do you do?

I would be described as a charismatic, bubbly, caring, dedicated individual who has a passion for helping people. I am affectionately known as the ‘Minister of Menstruation’ for the educational work and awareness surrounding menstruation. Through my Non-Profit Company, QRATE, we host fun and dynamic menstruation workshops that aim to change the disempowering narrative surrounding periods. I am an author of two books: Perils of Patriarchy and Flow The Book About Menstruation. I am also a TEDx Speaker and a podcaster. Oh and I also love coffee, reading books and taking walks in nature. I believe that as a menstrual activist, I can not pour from an empty cup, and I always prioritize self-care.

How did you find your passion and purpose?

I believe my purpose to be a guiding star will always remain constant, and my purpose speaks to enabling young people to be educated and empowered.

My purpose stems from my high school background. The culture was centered on community service and giving back, but I also came from a household where speaking out on injustices was a priority. As I grew older and read a lot of feminist books, I found my passion in advocating for women, girls, and marginalized groups in high school, and used my Dramatic Arts background as a way to write scripts and blog articles.

My research on sexual and reproductive health became more of a priority when I joined the university space. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at policies that existed and focusing more on providing awareness on how we could cultivate a better world. So, my passion in reading books, and sharing knowledge and awareness has always been in me as a young child. It was the environments that I found myself in that really affirmed and intensified these passions.

How does menstruation exist in your life?

I started menstruating at the age of 10. It still continues to exist and honestly I wish I had the opportunity to opt out of my period. The experience varies from month to month and I have started to notice that my lifestyle has a direct impact on my period. I am always keeping a track of my menstrual cycle by using period apps and, thankfully, due to the freelance nature of my work, I am able to take time off from work on the heaviest days of my period. I experience brain fog, period cramps, bloatedness, and emotional mood swings whilst menstruating.

What advice would you give to younger menstruators out there?

I always say that education is power. The more you learn about your body, the more you can be the greatest advocate for yourself.

I do not know how many times I have had visits with gynecologists and doctors and felt afraid to speak up to myself. When I realized that no one knows my body more than me, that's when I got the right proper care. So, my advice would be to keep track of your menstrual cycle, always take notes of symptoms and, if something doesn’t feel right, CUT THE CAMERAS and seek medical help. Also, it is important to realize that periods are NORMAL. There is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. If you happen to come across someone who makes you feel inferior whilst you're menstruating, please dispose of them as you would your period products!

How did you discover August?

I have been an avid follower of Nadya since I started my menstrual activism journey. When she announced the creation of August, I immediately followed the organisation. I have also participated in a previous IG live via the @itsaugust account, and have had a cross collaboration of IG stories for MH Day. I love the work that August is doing!

Why does August resonate with you?

August resonates with me through their content. They are confident about eradicating period stigma and taboos and I love their candid and quirky style when it comes to answering questions regarding product user experience. Period Positivity looks like August and a lot of organisations can seek inspiration from the company!

Before you go…a word of advice from the Minister of Menstruation

People should not underestimate the power they have in ending period taboos and stigma. When we think of the centuries of misinformation that has surrounded our periods, we have a duty and obligation in ensuring that we can create a period positive world. And it starts with you. It starts with you learning, and then continues with you sharing about period poverty, and donating to local period charities. We ALL have a responsibility in ending period poverty.

You can follow along with Candice’s fight for menstrual equity on www.candicechirwa.co.za, Twitter & Instragram!

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