May 28th is the official Menstrual Hygiene Day. What? Did I just read menstrual hygiene day? Like periods..? YEAH YOU DID. I’m talking about an entire day dedicated to discussing periods and the importance of understanding and advocating for menstrual hygiene. This an EXTREMELY significant issue and critical day to break the silence about a topic that makes so many people uneasy for no good reason.
The fact that writing this article made me a little uncomfortable is exactly why this needs to be written. It’s time to end the taboo about menstruation. So here we go.
What you need to know
The campaign for Menstrual Hygiene Day was envisioned by our friends over at WASH United. They have created a platform to establish “a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management.”
The goal is to address the challenges and hardships that too many women and girls face during their menstruation but also to highlight the positive and innovative solutions out there that have been created to address these issues.
The day drives attention to the growing global movement that recognizes and supports girls’ and women’s rights and serves as an opportunity to advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management into global, national and local policies, programs and projects. Pretty important stuff.
Why menstrual hygiene is critically important
Here are the facts provided by the Menstrual Hygiene Day platform. I learned that menstrual hygiene is fundamental to: advancing education, ensuring health, strengthening the economy, protecting the environment, AND realizing human rights. And we make girls and women feel ashamed for this?? Unreal.
On advancing education:
Girls’ right to education is being violated through inadequate menstrual hygiene education, insufficient water and sanitation facilities, and poor access to sanitary menstrual materials. Menstrual hygiene facilities and services keep girls in school where they can reach their full potential. Learn more.
On ensuring health:
Poor menstrual hygiene not only affects physical health, but also social and mental well-being, and thus a violation of the human right to health. Learn more.
On strengthening the economy:
When women’s sanitary needs are not met at the workplace, businesses and the economy suffer. Investing in menstrual hygiene can provide great business opportunities as well as create local jobs. Learn more.
On protecting the environment:
Menstrual hygiene products can affect the environment in different ways, however sustainable products are gaining popularity. Learn more.
On realizing human rights:
Ensuring good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) can support the fulfillment of several basic human rights. Learn more.
It seems pretty insane to me that a taboo surrounding menstruation even exists. My colleague, Kathleen, articulates perfectly how important this issue is in an article “Eight facts about Aunt Flo you need to know.”
“The bottom line: women’s health matters. Supporting education on menstruation, access to female specific health care will help to eradicate misconceptions related to reproductive health. It’s true, anti-female prejudices exist widely and aggressively, but by respecting the biology of women, progress can be made. Though Mother Nature’s monthly visitation may be a nuisance, menstruation isn’t a “curse.” By dispelling myths and having frank conversations surrounding reproduction, women, and men, will feel empowered by having increased understanding and knowledge.”