“Having your period shouldn’t result in anyone missing class,” declared Monica Lennon, a Scottish lawmaker. But sadly, this situation is a reality for girls around the world, who are being held back from completing their education due to insufficient menstrual hygiene management.

A lack of access to clean water, and unsanitary toilet facilities, are issues for more than 2.4 billion people around the world, but they are especially damaging for adolescent girls and women. During their periods, girls often stay at home rather than face the indignity of having to share bathrooms with male students, use teachers’ bathrooms — or, at the very worst, having to go to the toilet out in the open.

This is part of a much wider problem. Across Africa, 75% of girls start primary school, but only 8% complete secondary school. These girls are being denied access to an education — a basic human right for every child — simply because of their gender.

But poor menstrual hygiene management isn’t just a denial of girls’ human rights. It’s also keeping them, their families, and their communities, in poverty. According to UNICEF, every additional year of primary school can increase a woman’s earnings by 10-20%, and an extra year of secondary school by 15-25%.

#ItsBloodyTime that we invest in girls.

Sign the petition calling on world leaders to prioritize menstrual hygiene for girls’ education — and then email and tweet them directly, to stand with girls worldwide. Let’s help girls to thrive.