May 26, 2017
Carolyn Moore, Secretariat Director, Global Handwashing Partnership
Sunday, May 28th, is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Like handwashing, menstrual hygiene is a critical practice for good health and quality of life.
This year, the MHM Alliance has focused the day on menstrual hygiene education. Education about menstruation is important for everyone. For people who menstruate, it helps us understand our bodies, recognize symptoms related to menstruation, and properly use and clean menstrual products. Educating everyone about menstruation can help contribute to a supportive, inclusive environment. Overcoming taboos, stigma, and gaps around menstrual hygiene management must involve everyone – men, women, and communities.
In many parts of the world, women and girls frequently miss school or work because of stigma around menstruation, lack of sanitation and hygiene facilities, or other reasons. In developing countries, girls miss up to 5 days of school per month when they menstruate—meaning they miss out on about a quarter of the learning opportunities they may have otherwise. Good menstrual hygiene removes a barrier for girls and women to learn, work, and lead.
Handwashing is an important part of menstrual hygiene management. While access to hygiene facilities is a critical factor for managing menstruation, it is not sufficient in itself. Good menstrual hygiene management requires education; toilets, water, and soap; as well as menstrual products and a means of cleaning or disposal. One way that schools can help girls and women manage menstruation hygienically is by providing them with a way to wash their hands with soap and water. Check out this infographic for more on those and other factors, and steps that advocates and policy makers can take.
For the Global Handwashing Partnership, Menstrual Hygiene Day is an important reminder that issues of access, habit, knowledge, and more are linked not only in hygiene, but across global health and human rights. Please join us in observing this important day. To learn more, visit menstrualhygieneday.org, and follow #menstruationmatters on social media. For a great collection of news and resources related to menstrual hygiene, check out the latest edition of the USAID Water Currents newsletter.
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© 2017 The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP).