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Across the world, 2 billion people experience menstruation, yet menstruation is seen as a mark of shame. We are told not to discuss it in public, that tampons and sanitary pads should be hidden away, the blood rendered invisible. In many parts of the world, poverty, culture and religion collide causing the taboo around menstruation to have grave consequences. Younger people who menstruate are deterred from going to school, adults from work, infections are left untreated. The shame is universal and the silence a global rule.  

In It’s Only Blood Anna Dahlqvist tells the shocking but always moving stories of why and how people from Sweden to Bangladesh, from the United States to Uganda, are fighting back against the shame.

Anna Dahlqvist is a journalist specialising in gender, sexuality and human rights. She is editor-in-chief of Ottar, a Swedish magazine focusing on sexual politics and has previously published a book on illegal abortion and abortion rights in Europe.

'It’s Only Blood is intimate, provocative, and often funny, shattering the stigma of menstruation for people all around the world.’
Foreword Reviews

‘A necessary contribution to the conversation on gender liberation. Dahlqvist masterfully moves between storytelling and frameworking how stigma holds menstruators back globally, while offering tangible solutions to many of these problems. A must read.’
Kiran Gandhi, musician, activist, and free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon

‘An eye-opening and necessary book that will challenge your assumptions. Thought provoking, relevant and sensitively written. If you want to know more and do more to end menstrual taboos, read it.’
Chella Quint, founder of #periodpositive

‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and take action against the global consequences of menstrual shame, stigma, and taboo. An insightful and inspiring read that will challenge you to think and behave differently.’
Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect

‘Brilliant. It was frustrating to realise how much there is to be done, but also inspiring to read about these groups of women all over the world working bloody hard toward the same ideal: that periods do not need to stand in the way of an education, a future, or a good life.’
Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period

‘Only when we call out the unnecessary shame and stigma that surrounds periods can we demand meaningful change. Dahlqvist’s deft, compassionate storytelling, and her critical global perspective, are a tremendous contribution to the movement for menstrual equity.’
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front cover Front cover
Endorsements i
About the author ii
Title page iii
Copyright iv
Dedication v
Contents vii
Preface viii
1. Stains 1
2. Our Shame 26
3. Lost Days 49
4. A Comprehensive Set of Rules 70
5. A Painful Silence 91
6. Millions of Menstruating Textile Workers 108
7. ‘I Just Kept Bleeding’ 127
8. Bloody Menstrual Protection! 147
9. The Struggle 175
References 203
About Zed 246
Back cover Back cover