May 28: Menstrual Hygiene Day

On a given day approximately about 300 million women menstruate worldwide which is why being able to get easy access to sanitary items like tampons, pads and clean and safe places to use them without feeling shame and uneasiness is so important.

For women living in developed countries being able to do that might be very easy however there are some parts of the world where menstruation is still associated with so many taboos and stigmas that the women in those countries have to skip going to work and schools when they are on their periods. The main reason for this is the total lack of education regarding menstruation and not being able to get access to sanitary items and hygienic places to use them.

For the sole purpose of educating such women and helping them to reach their full potential WASH, United came up with the concept of World Menstrual Day. WASH United is a German-based educational group and non-profit organization that mainly focuses on human rights and menstrual hygiene. They launched this day as a way of celebrating womanhood and to break the age-old taboos and stigmas associated with menstruation along with educating women about hygienic managing of menstruation. Before we get any further let’s look at what is it exactly, what day it is celebrated, its theme for this year, and what are the ways in which you can celebrate it.

What is a Menstrual Hygiene Day exactly?

Menstrual Hygiene Day or MH Day is the day when non-profit and government organizations, media personnel, along with individuals come together on a global platform in order to spread awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene management or (MHM). Women and girls living in low-income nations have to resort to staying at home when they are on their periods because they do not have access to feminine hygiene items mainly because those things are either out of their budget or because of the social stigmas and taboos associated with periods.

In essence, through Menstrual Hygiene Day, several campaigns are run in order to make people more aware of managing periods hygienically. Along with that, this day also stresses the inclusion of the MHM in the policies regarding the various local and global programs. This is done so that women are able to manage their periods in a safe and hygienic manner without feeling any sort of shame or discomfort.

When is it Celebrated?

Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated on May 28th of each year. The main reason why WASH United chose this date was that it symbolizes the average length of a menstrual cycle. Most women menstruate for five days on average and so May is chosen since it is the fifth month. And so 28/5 or May 28th.

What is the theme of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day?

The theme for this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is ”Periods in pandemic” which highlights the importance of making women more aware of the importance of menstrual hygiene during a pandemic. The current Covid19 crisis is extremely stressful, which negatively impacts the menstrual cycle; it is therefore very important to manage periods in a hygienic manner and also help those that are struggling with menstruation-related problems. In the wake of the current pandemic situation getting easy access to health centers have become very difficult for women as they are no longer able to go for their routine check-ups or find solutions to their period related problems. 

Since everyone is forced to remain under quarantine, women are finding it all the more problematic to manage their periods without feeling uneasy and ashamed. The pandemic has also made it very difficult for women to take advantage of the schemes that provide them with feminine hygiene products free of cost as they are now no longer functioning.

Different ways in which you can celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day

  • Spreading awareness

For women and girls to have access to hygiene, it is imperative for them to be educated about the menstrual cycle and how it works. A lot of women still do not have a clear idea as to how a menstrual cycle works, what happens during menstruation, and how important it is to manage it hygienically in order to avoid contracting diseases and infections. Recognizing the relevance of educating others regarding these matters is of utmost importance, and so it is the first step towards celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day.

  • Host an event or attend one

On 28th May a lot of gatherings, discussions, and events regarding menstrual hygiene take place and so you can either attend these or come up with your own unique idea of hosting one and invite people that you know like your friends, coworkers, and such. These events are a great way of spreading awareness among the masses and also for learning a thing or two yourself.

  • Make a donation or volunteer to work with menstrual health agencies

WASH United consists of a large number of non-profit organizations that you can support by donating money or by becoming a part of them through joining their various volunteering programs. The various non-profit organizations operating under WASH are:

  • Femme International
  • WASH United
  • WASH Advocates
  • Women Deliver
  • Day for Girls

Apart from non-profit organizations, many local businesses are working towards a good social cause. The brands and some small scale businesses that deal with the manufacturing of sanitary products and biodegradable sanitary products, you can support these businesses by buying their products or help them in spreading more awareness and joining their workshops and become ambassador to the programs for schools and colleges to spread awareness. There are plenty of ways to support the thought of educating, spreading awareness, and getting more and more to the front of the spreading right information about menstrual hygiene among women of all ages. 

  • Finally, Opt for more sustainable products

An average woman in North America uses and disposes of around 10,000 in their lifetime, which is very shocking as the waste created from feminine hygiene products is increasingly becoming a great threat to the environment. Therefore it is important to opt for more sustainable products like biodegradable pads and tampons, reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups.