World Menstrual Hygiene Day gets globally celebrated on 28th May. It is a day solely dedicated to the awareness and promotion of menstrual hygiene and its importance. This initiative was taken by a German NGO, “Wash United”, in the year 2014. On this day, different NGOs, private sectors and organisations come together and host events to promote the significance of menstrual hygiene. Menstrual hygiene refers to having access to and using proper sanitary products during menstruation. It is essential to use sanitary pads/tampons/menstrual cups or any other hygienic-sanitary product to prevent diseases. Poor menstrual hygiene refers to not using the correct sanitary products. Its primary cause is the lack of knowledge of menstrual hygiene and its importance.
Other underlying causes of poor menstrual hygiene are the minimal availability of sanitary products, especially in remote areas. People residing in remote areas cannot access sanitary products because of unavailability, and some cannot afford them. Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to deadly diseases causing harmful health consequences. Negatively preconceived notions about menstruation and social stigmas make it more difficult for women to address their issues openly. This day aims to provide a platform to talk about the importance of menstrual hygiene openly.
Many people still lack knowledge about menstruation, which is a normal part of a women’s life. The global level initiatives must come into effect to diminish all the existing taboos. As we celebrate different festivals, likewise, this day is also dedicated to talking about menstruation. In order to break all the stigmas, change the negative norms into positive ones and raise awareness about their importance.
The vision set by the NGO includes:
- Availability of sanitary products for everyone.
- No more negative stigmas about Menstruation.
- No one lacks knowledge or information about menstruation (both genders, people of all age).
World Menstrual Hygiene Day should be addressed on a greater level globally and should also be an international holiday for all women. Menstruation causes different kinds of difficulties for women. It causes cramps, mood swings, headaches, stress, demotivation, body aches, cravings, decreased hunger, etc. All of these differ from person to person. The pain is not possible to explain. If it is declared an international holiday, it would be a token of respect for menstruating women. The international holiday will be the first step towards stepping up to break negative stigmas. It will allow minimising poor menstrual hygiene, as people will be more knowledgeable and aware of it.
Schools now teach about puberty as a part of their course, which has helped many learn about it. However, it is primarily taught in English medium schools and not in remote areas. Schools in remote places or with minimum infrastructure should also include teaching about puberty to their students to understand it just before they hit puberty.