May 28th is the International Day of Menstrual Hygiene. This date was set in 2014 by the German NGO WASH United and aims to promote the education of girls and women and show the importance of good hygiene during the menstrual period. The subject that is still a big taboo in our society
By Isabela Cucolicchio Rodrigues / AJN
Unfortunately, it is very normal for us women to be ashamed of our menstrual period. Especially when teenagers, at school, we do everything to hide our tampons, medicines for colic and/or anything that might suggest to others that we are menstruating – as if menstruation was a sign of weakness and shame, when it is one of the most natural events for a woman.
Society trivializes and devalues it and we women need to stand for ourselves and show that it doesn’t make us weaker, but quite the opposite!
This taboo that society has created around the female biological cycle has brought several consequences for society all over the world. In Kenya, about 50% of the girls in school age does not have access to menstrual hygiene products. In India, 23% of the girls stop going to school when they get their period. In Brazil, 28% of girls have already stopped going to school due to the lack of menstrual hygiene products and because they are afraid to “bother” others.
Menstruating women need to pay particular attention to personal hygiene. During this time, a woman’s vulnerability towards potentially life-threatening ailments increases.
Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to many issues, such as fungal or bacterial infections of the reproductive and urinary tracts. Girls and women with disabilities and special needs face additional challenges with menstrual hygiene and are affected disproportionately by the lack of access to toilets with water and proper materials to manage their period.
Just a curiosity. May 28 is quite a symbolic date: the average period lasts 5 days and May is the 5th month of the year, and the average menstrual cycle has 28 days.