Woman of the Month: Helen Robinson

Woman of the Month: Helen Robinson

1. What does Dignity mean to you?

Dignity epitomises everything important - my personal mantra for the past 30 years "to do good at scale". Every person and every organisation has the potential to drive real change for the betterment of life and lives. Dignity is a pseudo "transparent Robin Hood model" engaging people with resources to helping women in need providing one of the most basic human necessities.

2. What was your experience with your period?

I remember getting my period at school, not feeling confident to discuss it with anyone and using toilet paper. This went on for a couple of days until I woke up in the middle of the night to a blood-saturated bed pushing me to go and wake my mother!

Getting a period after a while becomes such a normal part of your existence; you do not worry about it, it just "is". In the 70s and 80s no-one discussed periods much although all my friends had different names for it; no-one told us that you shouldn't use tampons overnight or that you should always use the right tampon absorbency for your flow so that at the start of your period you use a more absorbent tampon and then switch to a much lighter one; there were no healthy, certified organic products available - we all had to use plastic, chemically-based tampons. You have to wonder if this has contributed to such a rise in cancers and other serious illnesses in women.

There are the always embarrassing moments (which not have been embarrasing!) - when your tampon falls out of your pocket in front of your boss, or the time out for the day wine tasting wearing white shorts to have this completely soaked in blood with no tampons and no change of clothing! Oh the joys of being a woman!

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

There is absolutely no doubt the best thing about being a woman and menstruation is the gift of life. This is a treasure we must never take for granted. There has been no greater joy for me and no greater achievement than my amazing, incredible children (not that I am biased of course!)

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

You know every woman has self-doubts - unfortunately I think this is how we are wired. Having people around you who make you happy and loved is the most empowering. Truly understanding your strengths and weaknesses and accepting these is very important. We are all different from each other, our diversity complements us as friends, colleagues, families and teams. Embracing these differences and knowing that it is okay provides enormous inner strength. Working to always grow your strengths should be the priority; not trying to be something or someone that you are not. (You would not have a long distance runner focus on dancing but rather focus on improving her running, in business and life this is true too). Lastly, one of the biggest learnings I determined a very long time ago is that there is only one person who owns your integrity and that is you. As long as you know in your heart and soul that you are doing and have done the right thing then that is okay. Sometimes life has interesting twists and turns but if you can put your hand on your heart and know you have acted with integrity nothing else matters.

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

Congratulations! The beginning of a very exciting journey is ahead of you. Relax, accept it, be open to chatting with anyone and everyone about it! It is a life-gift.What feels weird and strange now will soon just be a normal part of life. Know that you have a choice to look after your body and help save the planet by choosing only certified organic tampons, pads and liners; your health and the health of our world will love you for it! It's a small choice with massive impact.

Reading next

How learning te reo Māori is giving a young businesswoman greater purpose
Scotland makes period products free for those in need! New Zealand should follow

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.