The 28th of May is Menstrual Hygiene Day
Today, May 28th, is Menstrual Hygiene Day, to make us all remember that menstruation is a human rights issue and a matter of dignity. Hear from our amazing child advocate, Rejina from Nepal!
Menstruation, a normal fact of life?
Over 800 million women and girls menstruate every day. We could think that such a global phenomenon would be seen as a normal fact of life. However, we all know that menstruation is one of the biggest taboos to exist in our societies, all countries included. The period taboo is a sexist stereotype that affects almost all girls and women around the world. But it’s not just about silence. It has severe repercussions on women and girls that we must not ignore:
🩸 The taboo leads to lack of information about what menstruation is. In both developed and developing countries, girls have no idea of what this natural phenomenon is because family members do not dare to talk about it, and it also not addressed in school. Because of this, many girls are horrified and shocked by this blood flowing from their bodies. Many think they are dying or that something is wrong.
🩸 Girls are taught to be ashamed of their period. We tell them that they are impure, not fit to serve food to men or to enter temples. Many girls stop going to school once they first get their period. Menstruation should not be an obstacle to girls’ future.
🩸 Period poverty affect too many girls and women. Over 500 million girls and women have no access to sanitary protection at all: it is depriving women of the right to dignity and to good health.
🩸 Worst of all: period taboo kills. In some countries, like in Nepal and Vanuatu, menstruating girls are excluded from their home and forced to sleep in makeshift shelters where they are exposed to elements and attacks.
📣 We need to end menstrual poverty and stigma. Having your period shouldn’t be a fight for your dignity anymore. We need girls (and boys!) to have more information about what menstruation actually is and what it entails, and we need the taboo to stop. Young people are key to behavior and societal change concerning menstruation.