Open your eyes and see… – an exhibition on menstruation
Period poverty and the experience of femininity are the leitmotif of the photo exhibition launched on May 28th on Menstrual Hygiene Day. The authors of the photographs are: Łukasz Bąk, Tomasz Lazar, and Marek Straszewski, who accompanied the Kulczyk Foundation during the last season of the documentary series, “Domino Effect”. The exhibition is available at Elektrownia Powiśle in Warsaw until June 18th.
The women and girls from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uganda presented in the photos share their beliefs and their problems. Many of them lack basic knowledge about menstruation, and often lack the means to buy sanitary products. With the support of the Kulczyk Foundation, local NGOs operating there try to provide reliable information about the menstrual cycle and support their beneficiaries by providing them with sanitary products.
“As a reporter and philanthropist, I have dealt with various problems of the world. When I realised that change is a woman and that women are very often the catalyst for change, I decided to focus on women’s issues. Superstition, misconstrued tradition, and social and economic constraints are standing in the way of women fulfilling their potential, making their own decisions and achieving equality and, quite simply, personal happiness. It is unacceptable that women are stigmatised because of their periods. The lack of sanitary products takes away the freedom of women to control their own lives,” says Dominika Kulczyk, President of the Kulczyk Foundation.
The “Open your eyes and see…” exhibition is part of a social campaign initiated by the Periodic Coalition and aimed at tackling period poverty and the taboos associated with menstruation. Periods are an invisible theme in every culture and latitude. Menstrual Health and Hygiene have a fundamental impact on the lives of millions of people around the world. Where they are patchy there are negative effects on health, education, psycho-social and economic development. This affects almost every aspect of menstrual life and as such concerns society as a whole. In Poland, too, menstruation is a taboo subject. As indicated by the research commissioned by the Kulczyk Foundation, as many as 42 percent of women surveyed state that they do not talk about menstruation at home, and 23 percent say it is an embarrassing topic. Every fifth Polish woman sometimes cannot afford the appropriate sanitary products.
It is a private family foundation headquartered in Poland, founded by Grażyna Kulczyk, Dr. Jan Kulczyk, and Dominika Kulczyk in 2013. Together with its partners, the Foundation fights against inequality affecting women and girls around the world. The goal of Kulczyk Foundation’s activities is to build a reality without any gender restrictions. The Foundation works with social partners in different parts of our globe, initiating changes with sustainable solutions. Since its creation, the Kulczyk Foundation has carried out international aid projects in 65 countries on 6 continents.
It is an association of the organisations, activists and experts who deal with the topic of menstruation. On March 8, 2021, the members of the Coalition presented the Manifesto that expressed the urgent need to fight menstrual exclusion and period poverty. Since March 2021 for the next 12 months they have worked and will continue to work towards achieving the goals, such as: raising awareness, educating and working for the full access to sanitary products for menstruating people. The motto of the Manifesto, as well as the symbol of all actions, is “Our blood boils”, which is an expression of disagreement with the continued ignorance towards the topic of menstruation and period poverty.