South African-Malawian Gender Activist and Award-Winning Author Aims to Break Negative Menstruation Stigmas

South African-Malawian Gender Activist and Award-Winning Author Aims to Break Negative Menstruation Stigmas

  • An award-winning author, South African-Malawian gender activist, and PhD candidate aims to dismantle negative stereotypes that exist around menstruation
  • The 27-year-old founded a non-profit organisation that provides menstrual empowerment workshops to educate people about the monthly cycle
  • Talking to Briefly News, Candice Chirwa opens up about her goals, the period-positive tour her foundation is conducting, and more

Candice Chirwa is a strong South African-Malawian gender activist who needs little introduction.

The South African Malawian activist is a menstruation advocate
Candice Chirwa, a South African Malawian activist, advocates for education about menstruation. Image: Candice Chirwa/Supplied.
Source: UGC

The 27-year-old is the founder of an award-winning non-profit organisation called QRate, which is focused on enhancing the critical thinking skills of young people through education, upliftment, social advocacy, and more.

In 2019, QRate started its menstruation education workshops with Candice, aptly known as the ‘Minister of Menstruation’, aiming to eradicate the shame often associated with the monthly cycle many women endure.

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Woman activist passionate about menstruation advocacy

Talking to Briefly News, the young woman shared why she is incredibly passionate about education around menstruation, noting that her research for the United Nations piqued her interest in the cause:

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“In 2017, when I was 21 years old, I was tasked with finding research on different countries’ policies regarding menstrual health. The research was lacking, and that sparked my curiosity to then conduct further studies for my master’s degree.
“The research I came across during my master’s surrounding how young girls felt when they first had their period motivated me to then do workshops on the ground to change the negative misconceptions.
“Through these workshops, a friend of mine then gave me the nickname ‘Minister of Menstruation’ and since then, I have used my social media accounts as a way to drive period positivity and education for people.”

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PhD candidate stands against negative stereotypes about menstruation

Candice, who is currently completing her doctoral degree in development studies, explains that QRate is currently conducting a period-positive tour outside of Gauteng, which interested audiences can find out more about on their website.

The South African-Malawian believes in accessibility to menstruation products and education about periods
Candice Chirwa conducts menstruation workshops. Image: Supplied.
Source: UGC

The author notes that in addition to Qrate providing menstrual education workshops to eradicate the stigma and myths associated with period poverty, the organisation has also partnered with various period product companies that donate items to their workshops.

Explaining why she feels it is vital to empower people through her organisation and remove embarrassment around open conversations people should be having about menstruation, Candice notes:

“Menstruation carries a significant stigma in numerous regions worldwide, with women often associating their periods with shame, discomfort, and the need for secrecy due to societal pressure to refrain from discussing menstruation openly.

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“Despite being a monthly occurrence for a quarter of the global population, menstruation continues to be viewed as an uncomfortable and taboo subject. These stigmas have endured across generations and have become deeply entrenched within the cultural fabric of societies.
“In certain traditional areas of India, for instance, menstruation is deemed impure and subject to strict taboos. In the absence of adequate menstrual education, the perpetuation of this stigma will contribute to the persistence of period poverty.”

The aspirant academic argues that misconceptions around the monthly cycle can be detrimental:

“Negative notions around menstruation have become deeply ingrained in society, emphasising the necessity for proactive education and open dialogue to challenge and overcome the stigma associated with periods and menstruation. Menstrual education is important to break these harmful stigmas in society.”

Candice even spoke to Miss SA 2022, Ndavi Nokeri, on her podcast, opening up about her cause, as this short Instagram clip illustrates:

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Candice is an inspiring social advocate from whom many young women can learn and be motivated.

Reigning Miss Soweto opens up about passion for mental health advocacy

In another story, Briefly News reported on the reigning Miss Soweto, Tsakane Sono and her passion for mental health awareness and advocacy.

The occupational therapist and master’s candidate told Briefly News she believes in well-informed conversations about mental health to address diverse negative stereotypes that exist.

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Source: Briefly News

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