“Let’s  end  the  hesitation  around  menstruation”  are  the  words  that  will  be  heard  across
the  world  on  the  second  annual  Menstrual  Hygiene  Day  on  28th of  May  2015.

MHD_fullcolor

Menstrual  Hygiene  Day  (MH  Day)  is  an  awareness  platform  that  works  year-­‐round  to  break taboos  and  raise  awareness  about  the  importance  of  good  menstrual  hygiene  management  (MHM) for  women  and  adolescent  girls.  Initiated  by  WASH  United  in  2014,  the  day  has  garnered  the support  of  over  230  global  partners  that  are  unified  in  their  commitment  to  make  good menstrual  health  and  hygiene  a  priority  worldwide. Unite Youth Dublin is proudly listed as one.

Despite  the  fact  that  menstruation  is  a  healthy  biological  process,  in  many  places  all  over  the world  it  is  approached  with  hesitance  and  misinformation  because  of  deeply–rooted  cultural taboos.  The  silence  around  menstruation  limits  women’s  and  adolescent  girls’  access  to  relevant and  important  information  about  their  bodies,  directly  affecting  their  health,  education  and  human  rights:

  •  In  many  traditional  Hindu  homes  in  India,  girls  and  women  face  restrictive  taboos  around menstruation,  such  as  being  denied  entry  to  the  temple  and  the  kitchen.
  • In  many  parts  of  sub-­‐Saharan  Africa,  girls  can  miss  up  to  5  days  of  school  a  month  or  drop  out entirely  due  to  insufficient  access  to  water,  sanitation  and  hygiene  (WASH)  facilities  and  sanitary supplies  (SNV/IRC  International  Water  &  Sanitation  Centre:  Study  on  menstrual  management  in Uganda,  2013).
  • Despite  their  widespread  availability,  many  low-­‐income  and/or  homeless  girls  and  women  in  the inner  cities  of  the  US  simply  cannot  afford  sanitary  supplies.

global taboo map

On  the  first  Menstrual  Hygiene  Day  in  2014,  events  took  place  all  over  the  world,  with politicians  and  representatives  from  health,  education  and  gender  ministries  in  attendance.

This  year,  the  focus  will  be  to  “end  the  hesitation  around  menstruation”  and  challenge  societal norms  that  claim  that  periods  are  shameful  or  dirty.  ‘’Breaking  down  global  taboos  so  that  we can  discuss  this  natural  bodily  function  has  positive  impacts  beyond  a  woman’s  reproductive health,’’  says  Dr.  Dani  Barrington,  WASH  Specialist  and  Strategic  Advisor  for  MH  Day  in Australia,  “it  is  of  vital  importance  to  her  dignity.’’

For  partners  working  in  developing  countries,  the  day  is  not  only  an  opportunity  to  raise awareness,  but  also  to  strengthen  government  accountability  around  MHM.  In  Kenya,  the Ministry  of  Health  is  developing  a  national  MHM  strategy  that  is  set  to  launch  on  Menstrual Hygiene  Day  2015.  This  is  a  monumental  step  that  Alfred  Muli,  MH  Day  National  Coordinator for Kenya  and  partners  working  with  the  Ministry  are  particularly  excited  about:  “The  development of  this  strategy  is  extremely  important  because  it  shows  that  the  government  is  committed  to making  sure  that  MHM  materials  are  accessible  and  affordable.  This  is  great  because  this  is something  that  MH  Day  partners  here  have  been  working  really  hard  year-­‐round  to  push.”

To  help  break  the  silence  and  lend  your  voice  to  the  global  movement,  use #MenstruationMatters on  social  media – print out one of the two #MenstruationMatters cards here or here (or make your own), add your message and take a pic with it.  Also mark your calendars for the #MenstrualHygiene Twitter chat on the 21st of May at 3pm, where men in menstruation, policy advocacy around the world as well as menstrual waste & disposal will all be discussed. You can find fact sheets, advocacy  materials and a treasure chest of MH Day paraphernalia online at www.menstrualhygieneday.org

Unfortunately, while we had plans for the first Irish MH day event, we were unable to secure a venue, so if there are interested people or you know of a venue that would be willing to host an event do let us know!

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