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The amazing success of one women's group in Myanmar

Win Theint Theint – Sponsorship Manager, Myanmar

In Myanmar, women usually bring in half the monthly wage of men, even for the same work, meaning they struggle to provide for their children. But when women come together to share and solve their problems, great things can happen. ActionAid has set up over 600 women's self-help groups in Myanmar, benfitting thousands of women - and their families.

Mum of two, Naw Mway Rae Paw, is part of her local group in the rural communities of Pathein West, southern Mynanmar. Thanks to group training, she has not only inproved her income but can now send her 11-year-old daughter, Naw Tar Lu Moo, to school safely and on time.

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Our new poll this week shows that a third of women in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about their periods.This seems pretty shocking to me. Periods are natural - they affect approximately half the population at some point in their lives - but yet there is still stigma and shame attached to them. So this Menstrual Hygiene Day (Saturday 28th May) we’re saying: let’s talk periods! And what better way to kick-start this conversation than to get some of our favourite celebrity supporters to share their funny first period stories?

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It’s that time of the month again - well, actually it’s that time of the year. On Saturday 28th May it’s Menstrual Hygiene Day, and to mark it we've reimagined five vintage posters to highlight period myths and taboos that women and girls still face today. From girls we work with who are told that if they cook with salt on their period they'll make their teeth fall out, to women in the UK who still can't talk about taking sick leave because of their period, we want to bust these myths across the world.

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What stops a girl in Africa from going to school? Is it a lack of books and uniforms? Or the lack of a safe path to school? It could be any of these things. But there is another, rarely talked about, problem that can bring girls’ education to a screeching halt: the simple lack of a sanitary towel when she has her period. One in 10 girls in Africa miss school when they have their period. 

At ActionAid we recognise that sanitary towels are not trivial, nice-to-have items – they are essential tools in the fight against poverty and injustice. To mark World Menstrual Hygiene Day this Saturday, find out more about what we're doing to support girls and why #menstruationmatters. 

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Survivors are not statistics

Cora Bauer – Senior Media Officer

If you head to London today you might see something a little unusual. This morning, mannequins appeared in front of Marble Arch to mark International Safe Cities for Women Day. Safe Cities Day is celebrated all over the world from Australia to Zimbabwe, and calls for an end to violence against women on the streets of their cities.

So what’s with the mannequins?

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A shocking one in three women will face violence in her lifetime. In the run up to International Safe Cities for Women Day, on 20 May, we’re highlighting just how much of this takes place on the streets of their own cities. Cities can have huge potential for the world’s poorest women and girls, but the constant threat of violence is holding far too many back. Here’s why ActionAid are shouting about it from Australia to Zimbabwe, and how you can show your support.