Kao Laurier Malaysia Sparks Conversation On Feminine Hygiene Care As Basic Human Right
November 17th, 2021 at 3:51 am
Hygiene care is a basic human right. However, over the past year this vision has been challenged as 47% of menstruating women found it more difficult to access menstrual supplies since the pandemic, according to a survey by WASH United, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (Waggs) and UNICEF. To address period poverty, KAO Laurier Malaysia has joined hands with Yayasan Perintis Malaysia (MyPerintis) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) to launch the “Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita” (Menstrual Hygiene is a Woman’s Right) movement.
“For 27 years KAO Laurier Malaysia has built a legacy as an active educator of hygiene care in schools across Malaysia raising awareness about menstrual hygiene practices and making young girls feel more comfortable discussing this delicate subject in a safe setting amongst peers. The “Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita” movement is a timely effort that aims to raise awareness that period poverty is not merely a women’s issue, but a national issue. We view the matter as a critical area of need just as the Government does, which was evident in the tabling of Budget 2022. Today, we continue to extend our commitment to uplift young women in higher education institutions by addressing the lack of access to the most basic of hygiene care needs,” said KAO (Malaysia) President, Itou Hirofumi.
The “Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita” movement seeks to rally the public in a nationwide collective effort to destigmatise conversations and spark action around period poverty, specifically for the benefit of university students from the B40 community. Despite aspirations for Malaysia to progress as a high income and developed nation, period poverty remains a stumbling block faced by a significant percentage of women in Malaysia.
“Here in MyPerintis since its inception we aim to focus on campaigns that matter to young people primarily but in recent years we have ventured into many segments in one single mission to create a stronger and better Malaysia together. We have worked with KAO Laurier Malaysia on campaigns over the past 2 years and I am deeply touched with their passion in ensuring empowerment towards women in overcoming one of the longest standing problems, period poverty. Together with MyPerintis reaching out to the community and grass roots, we will ensure the highest benefits are channeled directly to the women in need specifically in this campaign for them in universities across the nation. Together we can do more” by YBhg Dato’ Lawrence Low, Founding Chairman of Yayasan Perintis Malaysia.
Research analyst at EMIR Research, Amanda Yeo, shares that with on-going financial distress arising from Covid-19, many people would prioritise spending on basic needs over menstrual products to cope with the rising cost of living. She observes that when people do not have proper access to menstrual products, they may not be able to concentrate on studies or work during menstruation. Worries about menstrual leaks or period pain may lead some people to stay at home and skip classes. If this problem persists, more young girls might drop out of school and more women might be out of work.
In October 2021, KAO Laurier Malaysia became a key contributor to the Projek Rintis Sahabat KafeTEEN Prihatin #HygieneKit mooted by Lembaga Penduduk dan Pembangunan Keluarga Negara [National Population and Family Development Board] (LPPKN), to support women impacted by the pandemic through the provision of basic hygiene care products and knowledge- sharing on reproductive health and wellness. KAO Laurier Malaysia saw the need to do more as a responsible corporate citizen, supporting the community in recovery, which birthed the “Kebersihan Menstruasi Adalah Hak Wanita” movement. Aspiring to fulfil the hygiene care needs of university students from the B40 community the movement hopes to ensure that young women will never have to skip class or miss activities on the account of not being able to afford sanitary products.
KAO Laurier Malaysia is pledging to donate a pack of its Laurier Night Safe range for every pack purchased by consumers, with a goal to donate sanitary products valued at RM150,000 to empower 20,000 young women in over 20 public universities across Malaysia. Consumers have the opportunity to contribute throughout the campaign period which runs from 15 November 2021 to 31 January 2022.
The movement’s collaborative partners, MyPerintis and MoHE, will serve as enablers to ensure the hygiene care essentials reach student communities in need at the end of the collection period.
Through its long-term Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programme, KAO Laurier Malaysia has been a friend to young girls for past 27 years since 1994, with efforts dedicated at supporting and educating young girls in hygiene care. To date, KAO Laurier Malaysia has touched the lives of over 2 million students, from over 8,000 schools through the programme. Its latest movement is an extension of its 27-year ESG programme with primary and secondary schools, now evolving into an area of need in higher education institutions across Malaysia. A believer in empowering communities around it, KAO as a global group has invested over JPY 214 million in donations and JPY 847 million in activity expenses under its corporate citizenship banner within and outside of Japan in 2020.
“Our Kirei lifestyle philosophy is the inspiration behind our mission to make life beautiful for all. Together with our community partners and the Rakyat, KAO Laurier Malaysia hopes to lift the barriers that hinder young women from living fulfilling lives by making hygiene care more accessible. We invite all Malaysians to join us in this journey to uplift our young women in the community who deserve the basic right to hygiene care essentials and to the right to feel confident and beautiful in body and mind always. By doing so, we invest in a better future as a progressive nation,” Ito added.
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