For 28 days in May, everybody working in the “bloody business” will be tweeting and posting about something called “Menstrual Hygiene Day” or “Menstrual Hygiene Month”. Just go check #menstruationmatters – you’ll see what I’m talking about.
What Menstrual Hygiene Day is all about
For 28 days, the length of an average female cycle (you see what they did there?), it’s all about raising awareness and raising voices. Why is this important? Because, globally, menstruation is extremely challenging for women in lower income settings. The taboo and stigma that surrounds menstruation has severe negative to even deadly consequences for women and girls in some cultures.
3 reasons why #menstruationmatters
1. Access to menstrual products is an issue of human rights and dignity.
A lack of adequate menstrual products denies women and girls the possibility to continue their normal everyday life all days of the month. Without any reliable products to take care of their periods, many girls choose to stay home during their menstruation, hence limiting their basic right to get an education.
2. Enabling proper menstrual management is an important factor for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 – so where is the goal of ensuring safe and dignified menstruation for all women worldwide? It is a key factor in reaching so many of the other SDGs such as gender equality or good health and wellbeing. How the hell can we achieve gender equality if half the class is forced out of school because of menstruation? Time to put that on the agenda.
3. Menstruation is natural, normal and essential. The world has to stop shaming women for it.
Periods should not be shameful. If men had periods (a Gloria Steinem Masterpiece), it would be a symbol of power and the justification for men to rule the world. Instead, women get shamed, can’t practice their culture or religion, get married off as kids.
Some rural regions in Nepal shun menstruating women to an extent where it violates all basic human rights. “In Jamu, Radha’s village in western Nepal, her status is lower than a dog’s, because she is menstruating.”, Rose George writes in her report about periods in Nepal.
This is not about women overruling men (the typical misconception of gender equality and feminism), but about women should not have to face major disadvantage because of a natural body function.
The Vision & Mission
The idea(l) is a world in which every woman and girl can manage her menstruation in a hygienic way – wherever she is – in privacy, safety and with dignity.
Menstrual Hygiene Day matters because it’s about breaking the silence, shame, taboo and stigma surrounding menstruation. And it’s about building awareness on the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management plays for reaching gender equality, basic human rights for all and an overall improvement for society.
There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls. – Kofi Annan
Menstrual Hygiene Day Campaigns around the world
Ruby Cup (Worldwide & Online)
Ruby Cup has decided to go all out on helping girls this month and give two Ruby Cups to girls in Africa for every Ruby Cup Menstrual Cup you buy online during all of May. #buy1give2
If you’ve been thinking of getting a menstrual cup or know someone who is, then refer them to Ruby Cup and help them do double-good.
RDX Red Party – Let’s paint this town Red (Portland)
Join the fair-style event featuring dozens of vendors and influencers related to menstruation and health! There will be food, activities, samples of products and services, and a huge silent-auction style raffle. You won’t want to miss it! This is a sister event to NYC Red Party in New York! More info here.
#PeriodPower by WaterAid (New York, Movie Screening)
In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day, WaterAid will activate the dialogue around the taboo subject of menstruation through a variety of short videos, including, If Men Had Periods. The film screening will be followed by Q&A and a panel discussion with the leaders who are doing great things for women and girls everywhere. Get your tickets here.