Break the silence around menstrual hygiene | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 31, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:08 PM, May 31, 2015

Break the silence around menstrual hygiene

Worldwide 28th May is celebrated as World Menstrual Hygiene Day and WASH United is the initiator of this day from the year 2014. There is an interesting reason behind the day; May is the 5th month of the year, representing 5 days a woman or girl spends menstruating each month. And, 28 represent the average number of days in a menstrual cycle, hence May 28.

The vision of this day is to create 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.

Despite menstruation being a natural process and a key sign of reproductive health, in many countries and culture it is treated a taboo. This has to stop. The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and at schools results in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge on what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it. Many girls and women face challenges to manage their periods safely.

In addition to persisting taboos, women and girls’ capacity to manage their periods is affected by a number of other factors, including limited access to affordable and hygienic sanitary materials and disposal options leaving many to manage their periods in ineffective, uncomfortable and unhygienic ways.

Facing long-standing social stigmas attached to menstruating bodies, many become isolated from family, friends and their communities. Often, they miss school and productive work days and fall behind their male counterparts.

According a study, the following below facts are found:

* About 52% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month which is a very natural process.

* Menstruation is still considered as a sign of marriage for a girl; 68% Bangladeshi women are forced to get married within 1-4 years of menstruation.

* 97% Bangladeshi women are suffering from cervical infection due to non-hygienic menstruation.

* 40% school going girls misses school at least 3 days / month during period. Even their lady teachers miss quite frequently.

* On an average an RMG worker remain absent for 6 days per month due to period related complication.

* In rural, millions of women are suffering from exposed or enlarged uterus which is hampering their normal sexual life and instigating their husband for second marriage or extra marital sexual partner.

Menstrual Hygiene Day will help to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.

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