WATERAID HAS joined a coalition of organizations to declare the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day to break the myth and taboo surrounding menstruation among girls and women worldwide.
On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Yet menstruation remains a taboo subject.
Myths that in some cases date to Roman times don’t look in a mirror or it will lose its brightness, don’t touch a plant or it will wilt – persist today in many countries and range from harmless to extreme, including banishment from the family home to an outdoor shed during each cycle.
Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said “It’s time for all of us to start talking about periods and bring an end to the stigma that still surrounds menstruation.
She added that taboos surrounding periods can take a heavy toll on the health of girls and women in the developing world.
She said “Without decent toilets or washing facilities, girls’ health is put at risk and they are likely to drop out of school rather than face the humiliation of finding somewhere private to change. By talking about periods, we can help normalize this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”
WaterAid works in more than a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to teach women and their families how to care for themselves properly during their periods. School projects range from building private, gender-separate toilets and taps for washing to creating hygiene clubs where girls learn how to sew washable, reusable sanitary towels.
The day also marked the launch of a WaterAid petition to remind world leaders that safe water, a private toilet and soap and water for washing hands matter even more to girls on their periods, and everyone, everywhere deserves them.
UNESCO estimates one in ten African girls miss school during their periods, leading to a higher dropout rate.
Source: Daily Heritage
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