During Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) – every year on May 28 – all over the world awareness is raised about the challenges women face during their menstruation. This year is the fifth edition.
Even if all circumstances are ideal, which is mostly the case in the western world, managing your menstruation can be quite a challenge. However, this is nothing compared to the challenges and suffering millions of women all over the world have to deal with each month. Not having access to enough clean water, toilets, privacy and/or safe hygiene products, for example. And we haven’t even mentioned the lack of proper medical care.
Talking about ‘not mentioning’: in a lot of places, the subject still is a gigantic taboo. There’s no talking about menstruation, and thus no menstrual education. The perfect conditions for maintaining local menstrual myths, which all have at least one thing in common: they create a position of great disadvantage, hygienically, economically, and also socially. This leads to the entire society being worse off. And that explains why menstruation is such an important theme in the current development cooperation: education about menstruation changes everything.
#NoMoreLimits. Empowering women and girls through good menstrual hygiene
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), which is celebrated on 28 May, is a Wash United initiative. The date has a link to the menstrual world: May is the fifth month of the year, which symbolises the five days women menstruate on average. And 28 represents the average menstrual cycle, which lasts 28 days. By the way, there has been some criticism about the name of the event. The word ‘hygiene’ could be considered stigmatising, as if menstruating women would be unclean.
‘Health’ might be a better word than ‘hygiene’, but let’s not quibble about names. Because with MHDay, Wash United has certainly succeeded in putting this important subject on the map. That doesn’t mean the specific health risks women face by poor menstrual hygiene have all been solved though. Far from it. It’s still necessary to break the silence and raise awareness about menstrual hygiene management. This year’s campaign: #NoMoreLimits. Empowering women and girls through good menstrual hygiene.
Also in the modern western world, issues like period poverty and menstrual shame are high on the agenda
MHDay is growing every year. Last year, 350 events were organised in 54 different countries; for the first time there was also an event in The Netherlands. All organisations that are involved with menstrual health, somehow support MHDay. Big NGOs like UNICEF, WaterAid, WSSCC, Global Citizen, USAID, Simavi and Plan, but also more and more smaller initiatives that have recently seen the light. The events on offer vary from symposia and conferences for an ever-growing army of menstrual health professionals, to art exhibitions and poetry slams in metropolises and educational campaigns in tiny schools in rural areas.
Think MH Day is only for developing countries? You’re wrong. Also in the western world, issues such as period poverty, menstrual shame, and education about menstruation management are high on the agenda. In Austria, for example, digital menstrual education for teenagers has just been developed. Ready for Red is an interactive e-learning platform in German with educational games and for both girls and boys. And that’s a good thing. Because menstrual education is needed everywhere. Also in 2018!
Agree? Like this mission? Spread the news via social media by using the hashtag #NoMoreLimits, #MenstruationMatters or #MHDay2018. Want to know more or see which events will be organised where? Check out Menstrualhygieneday.org