Let’s Talk About – Menstruation! Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day

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Did you know that only 17 percent of school-going girls in Burkina Faso have a place to change their sanitary pads or tampons? That many women worldwide have no access to hygienic products to deal with their periods? Or that some girls in Nepal are not allowed to leave the house during 'that time of the month'?

Author Anna Rees, 05.28.14

Did you know that only 17 percent of school-going girls in Burkina Faso have a place to change their sanitary pads or tampons? That many women worldwide have no access to hygienic products to deal with their periods? Or that some girls in Nepal are not allowed to leave the house during ‘that time of the month’? Menstruation is a taboo topic upon which Menstrual Hygiene Day, happening across the globe today, is looking to shed some light.

In sub-Saharan Africa, only 57 percent of girls go to primary school from which only 17 percent will go on to further education. One reason why many girls don’t go to school is often overlooked or swept under the rug: gender taboos – and menstruation.

Got Your Period? Time to Go Home!

Many young women have no access to sanitary pads or tampons and make do instead with pieces of cloth, tree bark or mattress stuffing, none of which offer a reliable or a hygienic solution. In addition, many schools do not have sufficient toilets where the girls can change their sanitary pads, leaving girls in many parts of the world no other choice but to stay home. Sadly, something that’s simply a natural part of life can easily stand in the way of a girl’s education.

This infographic details some of the stats regarding mentstrual hygiene:

Breaking the Bloody Taboo – #MenstruationMatters

Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May is a day of action and awareness building that was initiated by Berlin-based organisation WASH United. More than 80 international organisations have come together to help break the taboos surrounding menstruation and demonstrate alternatives to menstrual care. From small villages to big cities, Menstrual Hygiene Day will be celebrated in Berlin, Delhi, Kathmandu, Nairobi and many other places with exhibitions, events and training sessions.

The slogan for the day is ‘Let’s start the conversation about menstruation’ and you can get involved straightaway with the social media toolkit that the team has made available online.

Learn more about Menstrual Hygiene Day here: menstrualhygieneday.org

Time for Sustainable Monthly Hygiene!

For those of us fortunate enough to not be in a situation where our periods prevent us from going to school and going about our business, it’s time to start applying some sustainable thinking to how we manage our periods. Alongside the fact that tampons and pads contribute significantly to waste, the composition and the materials they are made from also serve as a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

Why take the risk when there are healthy and eco-friendly alternatives to conventional menstrual hygiene products available? Menstrual cups made from medical silicon are as easy as tampons to use, are gentle on your body and reusable; each cup can replace the use of up to 17,000 tampons throughout the life of a woman. Ruby Cup is one such menstrual cup. Based in Berlin and Kenya, the organisation sells menstrual cups made out of silicon. For each cup that the company sells online, they donate one cup to a girl in Kenya. Visit their website here: ruby-cup.com

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