MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT HAS A STAGGERING IMPACT ON GIRLS, THEIR COMMUNITIES & THE ENVIRONMENT
Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) describes access to adequate materials, information, and support with which to manage menstruation in a healthy, safe, and dignified manner.
MENSTRUATION IS A BASIC FEMALE FUNCTION YET...
Across the world lack access to safe and dignified menstrual management resources.
Menstruation is often steeped in taboo and stigma. Difficulty managing periods with normalcy and dignity is an obstacle to gender equality and negatively impacts women’s human rights to education, health, and work.
Better educated women have healthier, better educated children and are more likely to exert greater agency over their lives.
Girls and women are not the only ones to benefit from access to dignified menstrual management resources. In fact, MHM can advance social and economic empowerment and growth because when women prosper, society at large benefits.
Not only are disposables unavailable, unaffordable, or both, they often contain contain added harmful perfumes and chemicals and produce an immense amount of non-biodegradable waste.
Menstruation-related school absenteeism increases a girl’s risk of:
- Reduced educational attainment and school dropout
- Lost economic opportunities
- Poor reproductive health
- Economic dependency
- Early marriage
Menstruation causes girls throughout the world to miss crucial days of education or even dropout of school altogether. When girls lack menstrual products and information about their periods, they are less likely to engage fully in school and may have trouble participating or concentrating in class, which can negatively impact their impact and learning compared to their male peers.
Generic menstrual hygiene products can be harmful to girls and the environment. Disposable products often have unnecessary perfumes and chemicals that may put a girl's developing body at risk.
Further, disposables generate a massive amount of non-biodegradable waste.
Every year, approximately 20 billion disposable pads, tampons & applicators are sent to landfills in the U.S. alone. To put this in perspective, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating women in the US will throw away 125 to 150 kg of disposable menstrual products, or approximately 16,800 conventional pads or tampons, in their lifetime. That is equivalent to 3 king size mattresses!
It takes 500 to 800 years for a disposable sanitary pad to break down in a landfill. The problem is aggravated when disposables are wrapped in plastic bags. In fact, every piece of plastic ever made still exists to this day!