This Girl Scout gets an A+ from us!
After suffering a recent bout of pelvic pain, Girl Scout Yamini Ananth got an idea for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. The 17-year-old began a women's reproductive health awareness campaign in her hometown of Howard County, Md., in hopes of breaking the stigma and silence surrounding pelvic pain culprits like endometriosis, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts and painful periods.
“I definitely think that there is a stigma and a problem there,” Ananth tells The Blossom. “I still feel a little bit uncomfortable talking about [pelvic pain] which is part of the problem for sure because if we’re not even comfortable talking about it, then there’s no way that we are going to get treatment.” She's learned from experience: Anath says she delayed having a talk with her own doctor about her pelvic pain before finally finding the courage to speak up.
For her project, named HERhealth, Ananth sets up booths at Maryland events and festivals in hopes of normalizing the conversation.
“It’s really amazing the stories that people will share with you,” said Yamini. “A lot of kids my age will come around, and they’ll hear what I’m talking about and say, ‘Wow I had no idea about any of this.’”
Already, she sees more ripples of change thanks to her project—but it seems she's just getting warmed up.
The teen has arranged for workshops in her community where a pediatrician will come and speak to young girls about pelvic pain. She’s even advocated to her county and state board of education requesting they add more information about pelvic pain and women’s health conditions such as endometriosis to the school curriculum. (EndoFound is trying to create the same change in New York state as part of our Let's Talk Period campaign.) She claims the state board of education turned her down her request, stating that pelvic pain was too specific to be included in the health curriculum— but that didn't stop Ananth. She designed pelvic pain pamphlets and distributed them to school nurses as a way around the rejection.
“Through my project I hope that a few more girls and women in my community learn to value their bodies and their opinions on how they feel over how they think they should be feeling."
If Ananth's project wins, she'll have bragging rights for life: The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can recieve.