Global Resources

Menstrual Hygiene matters

Author: S. House, T. Mahon, S. Cavill
Publisher: Wateraid
Publication Date: Jan 2012

Globally, approximately 52% of the female population (26% of the total population) is of reproductive age. Most of these women and girls will menstruate each month for between two and seven days. Menstruation is an integral and normal part of human life and menstrual hygiene is fundamental to the dignity and wellbeing of women and girls. However, menstruation is too often taboo, and has many negative cultural attitudes associated with it, including the idea that menstruating women and girls are ‘contaminated’, ‘dirty’ and ‘impure’. Menstruating women and girls are forced into seclusion, suffer reduced mobility and dietary restrictions, and can be prevented, through cultural norms, from participating in daily activities. Also the lack of privacy and the necessary infrastructure for cleaning and washing, the fear of staining and smelling, and the lack of hygiene in school toilets are major reasons for being absent from school during menstruation, and have a negative impact on girls’ right to education. The main purpose of this resource is to provide a comprehensive resource on menstrual hygiene that supports the development of context-specific information for improving practices for women and girls in lower- and middle-income countries. This will be achieved through:

  • Bringing together examples of good menstrual hygiene practice from around the world, related to policies, strategies, programmes and interventions, so that knowledge can be shared and adapted to different contexts.

  • Providing guidance on building the competence and confidence of staff working in the sector to start engaging in menstrual hygiene and break the silence surrounding the issue.

  • Encouraging increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene and encouraging relevant sectors to collaborate for effective advocacy and implementation.

In particular, this resource offers:

  • a synthesis of good practice encouraging users to consider
  • the options most relevant to their context;
  • A comprehensive approach looking at menstrual hygiene as a package of interventions.
  • Individual but interlinked modules, each with its own toolkit, focusing on various aspects of menstrual hygiene.
  • Inspiring locally-appropriate materials.

Summary adapted from source.