Every May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day is celebrated to advocate the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Periods do not stop for pandemics. So there is an urgency for the collective work needed to both change the negative social norms surrounding menstruation and also work towards empowering women and girls to unlock their educational and economic opportunities.
The social stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation often prevent women and girls from attending work and school. Even when they do attend while menstruating, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, lack of sanitation infrastructure such as private toilets and hand washing facilities, and lack of menstrual hygiene education can prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home.
The provision of adequate and safe sanitation can promote equity and opportunity, which, in turn, contributes to the erosion of long-standing discrimination and societal norms that reinforce traditional roles, prejudices, and expectations. Learning about menstrual hygiene management helps ensure cleanliness. Knowing what product or material to use, how often to change it, and having access to WASH (water sanitation and hygiene) facilities helping girls and women to have good hygiene while menstruating.
With Environment being added as the seventh focus area of Rotary International, every district and every Rotary club if they adopt MHM will be contributing in a big way towards saving single use sanitary napkins being sent to the landfills and thus preserving the environment. In today’s fast paced world we are so used to using single use disposable products that we don’t have the time to think the damage it is doing to our environment, be it lakes, rivers, landfills or just our street corner. Each Single use disposable sanitary napkin takes 500-800 years to disintegrate. Each woman uses about 6000-7000 Single use Sanitary napkin in her 35 years of her menstrual cycle. Imagine the waste we are generating!
MHM educates and encourages the girls and women to go back to the traditional practices of using menstrual cloth, or the modern concept of menstrual cup. Though the concept of using cloth is age old, the new age designs make them attractive, leak proof and comfortable. Using washable menstrual cloth not only makes the girl’s period comfortable, but also saves her money on repeat purchases, needless to say it saves the single use sanitary napkin from being sent to the landfills.
Rotary works very closely with government high school girls through their other programs. We at Rotary engages in educating these young girls on importance of preserving the environment and inculcate period pride, to ensure that the world will be a better place to live in.
Special thanks to Rtn. Nisha Bellare for providing me the inputs and actively participating in MHM projects.
If you are interested in being a part of this program or wants more information please contact us.