Today marks the celebration of world menstruation hygiene day, an occasion championed by WASH united. The 28th of May is a day set aside to celebrate womanhood, and as the number 28 symbolizes the duration of a menstrual cycle it makes it even more monumental. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Periods in Pandemic” identifying the loophole in addressing issues of menstruation especially in this global pandemic season.
Globally each day, an estimated 300 million people menstruate around the world, and the access to sanitary products and a safe haven to use them has become even more important. However, this isn’t the reality for most people and it has become more cumbersome in this pandemic and lockdown littered season.
In celebrating the occasion, the World Bank declared,
“Periods don’t stop for pandemic. Every day, some 800 million women and girls menstruate. Being able to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically, and with confidence and dignity is critical not just for their health and education but also for economic development and overall gender equality”.
Statistics show that every one in three girls is unable to afford or access period products in lockdown. The gravity of the situation is even more felt in deprived countries and societies where they have had to prioritize other essential needs over sanitary products.
On this the World Bank explained that,
“with the discontinuation of subsidized schemes, such as free distribution of menstrual hygiene products in schools and health care centers, many women and girls no longer have access to these supplies. Financial stress from the pandemic’s economic impact causes families to prioritize other basic needs. And disrupted supply chains increases prices of commercial products, making them unaffordable”.
Sadly, the stigma and taboos surrounding menstruation often inhibits girls who menstruate from attending work and school. Disparity based on this has sparked global conversation with the World Bank highlighting that,
“Consequently, period stigma and taboo persist, and can undermine adolescent girls’ confidence at a key stage of development”.
“Menstrual health and hygiene needs to be included in COVID-19 emergency response interventions and policies across sectors including health, education, WASH and gender”.
Similarly, the organizer of the Menstrual Hygiene Day waded in on the conversation saying,
“The organization adds that lockdown has also intensified the impact of household-level taboos and stigmas and can make it more difficult to manage menstruation without shame and discomfort”.
Menstruation Hygiene Day is a day set by WASH united, a German non-profit advocacy education group in German with a focus on menstrual hygiene and human rights and predominantly aims to raises awareness and change negative social norms around menstruation and create a world in which everyone is empowered to manage menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame.