Woman of the Month: Alice Pennington

Woman of the Month: Alice Pennington

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a fairly recent arrival to Aotearoa having only been here for two and a half years! I made my way here via many countries and many different jobs and now I'm lucky enough to work for Springload, Wellington's coolest digital design agency. In my role, I'm able to push loads of sustainable and socially responsible initiatives and also learn heaps about the diversity and inclusion space. I'm really proud to call Wellington my home now and to feel like I can make a real impact on the culture and community here.

2. What does Dignity mean to you?

To me, dignity is a basic human right that should be afforded to all people. As an organisation, Dignity makes that change for people who have periods every single day. Going through puberty and becoming a young adult can be such a difficult time regardless of circumstance, so being given the basic dignity and safety that free period products offer is invaluable. To me, Dignity allows young people with periods the freedom to enjoy life and embrace the journey into adulthood feeling empowered, proud and prepared.

3. What was your experience with your period?

I have always been really lucky in having light periods that don't cause me much pain or interfere too much with my daily life, but I still experienced a sense of embarrassment and shame when I was in my early 20s. I remember feeling like my period was something to be dealt with in private, never to be talked about with friends and certainly not with partners. It could be joked about but was definitely not a part of normal, everyday life. In recent years I've developed a new relationship with my period and while I don't always welcome its arrival, I am always proud that my body is doing something amazing. I know now that I can talk about it openly and that it is nothing to be ashamed of. I have a lot of empathy for people who experience pain with their periods and am proud to support them in talking openly and being taken seriously.

4. What is the best thing for you about being a woman and menstruation?

The best thing about menstruation is having a shared experience with so many people out there! I feel connected to all people who have periods and am proud to be part of a global community. The best thing about being a woman is the sense of privilege and pride I feel when supporting and empowering other women. When I think of the women who fought adversity to enable me to live the life I do today I am overwhelmed by the strength and integrity of womankind.

5. What makes you feel empowered/comfortable in your skin?

Doing the things I really love! Dancing, singing, wearing bright colours and getting tattoos. All of these things help me feel like I am in exactly the right body for me and I am 100% myself :) Supporting others also gives me purpose and helps me to feel empowered to make great decisions for my own life too.

6. What would you like to say to anyone getting their first period?

I would say be proud and be amazed! Your body is yours and you have total agency over it so celebrate this change that is happening, but remember that you never have to suffer in silence. You deserve a pain-free period and to feel joyful in your body and mind every single day of the month.

Reading next

Woman of the Month: Dr Sarah Donovan
NZ Government rolling free period products out in June 2021.

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