Menstrual Hygiene Always Matters

May’s been a big month for health education, including hepatitis awareness,  mental health week,  and the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.  On the weekend was another big day, Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is every May 28- scheduled on the fifth month for the average length of a period and 28 days for the average menstrual cycle.  It’s a campaign to bring attention to how menstruation shapes peoples’ lives. Menstruation is still a stigmatized topic, although it is inching its way into more everyday conversations in North American pop culture.  Given that sex education still warrants references to genitalia as “private parts” rather than their accurate names,  it’s not surprising menstruation is still a huge taboo topic. For those who have the money and circumstances to move through the month without too much bother, consider the life factors faced by others who menstruate.

For lack of clean water, supplies and safe, private bathrooms during menstruation, some folks will have to miss school or work on a regular basis. More than one billion women do not have access to toilets during their periods.  Trans people who menstruate can have challenges accessing facilities that are safe and comfortable. Menstrual hygiene is a huge issue if we are to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in health, education, gender equality, economic growth, water and sanitation.

To open up the conversation about menstruation for all people, the Red Cross is adding it to its health education so that students will learn about this normal process.  Youth in India are encouraging each other to use artwork to educate and eliminate stigma; collages, cartoons and paintings shout “Be Period positive!”  This underwear company is doing its best to blast menstrual and trans stigma with one campaign.

What’s your comfort level in talking about menstruation? Is it shamefully “The Curse” you were told about, or do you feel easy about discussing it? It’s a big issue for  many. As one of the youth posters said, “If you are ashamed of your period, your daughter wil be too.”  Le’ts break that. #MenstruationMatters  on Menstrual Hygiene Day and every day of the year.


Janet   |  @janet_madsen

This blog represents the ideas of individual writers, and does not necessarily reflect any formal stance taken by Positive Women's Network. Read our comments policy. Sexual health science, culture and news for women edging to middle age, parents and educators. Info on sexually transmitted infections, relationship dynamics, aging and sexual health, and sex education.

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