Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year on 28 May to create awareness among people about the importance of good menstrual health, proper use of menstrual products, and myths that mislead menstruating women, thus causing serious health issues.
As reported by UNICEF, "Every month, 1.8 billion people across the world menstruate. Millions of these girls, women, transgender men and non-binary persons are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way."
The discrimination and inequality faced by women, adolescent girls, transgender men, and non-binary persons during menstruation is one the major reasons that they lack access to proper menstrual products like sanitary napkins and toilets, which ultimately lead to poor menstrual hygiene and several other health issues like stress and anxiety.
Why Do We Celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day?
Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day can help to overcome the obstacles that are faced by people during menstruation. By creating awareness about the menstrual cycle, we can not only build courage, confidence, and strength among people to take care of their sexual and reproductive health but also encourage them to use menstrual hygiene products to ward off various diseases.
As per UNICEF, they primarily supports governments in building national strategies across sectors, like health and education, that account for menstrual health and hygiene. Their programmes are developed to reinforce gender equality.
What Is the Theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023?
The Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year under a specific theme. This year, the theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 is "Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030."
History of Menstrual Hygiene Day: Who Started It?
The celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day was first started in 2013 by a Germany-based NGO WASH United. During the period, the awareness was created about menstruation & its various phases through a social media campaign that lasted for 28 days.
After the success and positive response of the Menstrual Hygiene Campaign, the first Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated on 28 May 2014 during which various activities like workshops, seminars, exhibitions, and rallies were held to educate people about the benefits of Menstrual Hygiene.
Significance of Menstrual Hygiene Day
The major significance of observing Menstrual Hygiene Day is to encourage people about using safe menstrual products like sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups, period panties, reusable cloth pads, and more. The day is organized to provide access to menstrual hygiene products to low income people who can not afford it.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is recognized to educate people about sexual and menstrual health and how it affects their lives.
Some Unknown Facts About Menstruation
The average period of menstruation in a woman is almost 7 years during a lifetime.
Due to lack of menstruation education, the first period of an adolescent girl may arrive with extreme fear and concern. Therefore, it is important to educate girls before the onset of menstrual cycle to ensure a smooth transition to womanhood.
Most of the reproductive health issues and urinary tract infections are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.
Girls and women with disabilities and special needs face extreme challenges during a menstrual cycle and are therefore unable to manage their periods.
To manage their menstruation safely, UNICEF provides dignity kits to women and girls, which include sanitary pads, a flashlight and whistle for personal safety when using the toilet.