Menstruation is a natural and inseparable part of the lives of many women and girls. However, in some parts of the world, the monthly period is considered taboo. Women suffer from period-shame, and during their menstruation, they are excluded from regular activities, such as going to school, cooking, and even bathing. In developing countries, where there is a shortage of clean water and toilet facilities and products, it is challenging to maintain menstrual hygiene, and girls and women can suffer from related health issues.
Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed annually on May 28th, is a day for highlighting the implication of poor hygiene and the lack of access to valid information in certain societies. This day provides a platform for rebutting myths and stigmas about menstruation, breaking the silence around the subject, raising awareness of the significance of menstrual hygiene, and urging to develop national and global policies and educational programs regarding the topic.
The chosen date of Menstrual Hygiene Day is symbolic. May is the 5th month of the year – representing the 5 days average length of menstruation, while 28 is the average length of the menstrual cycle. The day was initiated in 2013 by the German non-profit organization WASH United, which held a campaign titled “May #MENSTRAVAGANZA.” In the following year, with a collaboration of 145 partners, Menstrual Hygiene Day became a global phenomenon with exhibitions, rallies, workshops, and movie screenings all over the world. Today, the event is organized by more than 400 official partners, including Water for People, Save the Children, WaterAid, and USAID.
Every year, during the week of May 28th, girls from around the world are creating “Red Pride” bracelets, celebrating their menstruation, inspiring and encouraging girls to talk about their period, menstrual hygiene, and the stigmas around the subject in their society. To observe Menstrual Hygiene Day, you can create your bracelet, invite other women to a bracelet making and conversation workshop. You can share your views on period stigma on social media and donate to a local or global organization that promotes the issue.
This post is also available in: Español