Last week I had the pleasure of getting to know some of the crew and support team for the only all female team in this years Volvo Ocean Race. Team SCA is comprised of 15 women who have been training for TWO years for this 40,000 mile sailing adventure. On the team are a few Olympic athletes, mothers, an engineer, the only women to have sailed the world solo in both directions, a humanitarian working to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, ..... basically it is a collection of badass women. Here's a short video showing a bit of what the women had to do to prepare for the race and the INSANE conditions they race in.
When they asked me to go on the race boat for a ProAm (professional/amateur race) I declined given my bun in the oven. I was able to watch the race on Saturday from a spectator boat. Two of the bloggers I was on the trip with were on the race boat and they said I made the right decision! It was intense just watching the race from afar.
After the race we walked around the village; a temporary town that is set up at each port the race stops at.
I was able to get a tour of the race boat and definitely felt like a little kid getting to play on a giant ship!
This is their kitchen. All of their food is dehydrated so they just boil water to add to it. You can see some pouches of spices hanging above the sink/stove.As much as I loved learning about the Team I was also blown away by SCA. To be honest - I hadn't heard of the company before. Most of their products are sold in other countries, but they do sell Tena (incontinence products) and Tork (paper napkins/towels) in the US. They are extremely active in promoting women's rights and environmental sustainability. They are Europe's largest private forest owner!
I loved that all the water they had all week was in boxes versus bottles.
While we were there we attended a joint seminar given by SCA and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council on menstrual hygiene. They are trying to make it less of a taboo to talk about (hard for me to comprehend given my total lack of a filter for personal issues on here.) I had no idea that only 23% of women worldwide have access to menstruation hygiene products. That means 77% of women either make do with things like newspapers or corn husks (seriously) or don't use anything at all.
The seminar focused on the negative repercussions for the women who did not have access to feminine hygiene products. Many young girls stop going to school on the days they had their period. Could you imagine having to go to high school during that time of the month with no pads or tampons? By the time the girls reach their second or third year they have missed so much many end up dropping out. I was floored, and felt so naive for not realizing, that girls around the world have to drop out of school just because they don't have pads. Then they talked about all this research that's been done showing a direct correlation between girls graduation rates and the nations GDP. Get girls graduating = better economy.
Between meeting the amazing women in Team SCA, and learning more about the sustainability and women's rights efforts being made by SCA, I left Rhode Island feeling humbled and on fire to figure out how I can help. It may be small but my first step is this blog post and just helping others become aware that this issue exists, and how serious it is for those girls facing it.
If you know of an amazing woman you'd like to honor consider submitting them to their "Amazing Women Everywhere" project. I spent just a few minutes reading some of the profiles of women already submitted and was in tears. Women rock. (This was the first profile I read - waterworks started immediately.)
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Have you EVER thought about women's access to feminine hygeine products? What is a cause you are passionate about?