Breaking taboos on menstruation matters

Menstruation hygiene day has been observed worldwide this May 28, 2017 with highlight on “education about menstruation changes everything”.


According to health experts, menstruation is a natural process in which blood which was created by the body to cushion an egg is flushed from the body if the owner of the said egg does not become pregnant. It is a normal action which millions of women across the world experience. Though a natural process, the issue of menstruation has always been a taboo subject in many communities.

In order to break the silence on this Sexual reproductive health issue, an awareness day known as menstrual hygiene day has been created. The necessity has been felt due to poor or low information and the misconceptions surrounding menstruation matters. Taboos and negative social norms around menstruation are perpetuated by the society as a whole including men. Including men and boys in menstruation conversations and educative talks is therefore critical in creating a normalcy and supportive environment for girls and women. Though many countries are still slowing the pace in celebrating may 28th as menstrual hygiene day, awareness campaigns are boosted on social media platforms.


Menstrual Hygiene Day is an open and global platform for partners across all sectors to engage in awareness, advocacy and knowledge sharing around the importance of menstrual hygiene management. As an issue of human rights and dignity, it is important to ensure that women and girls can manage their menstruation adequately and with dignity. This therefore includes the right to water, the right to sanitation, the right to health and access to health related education, including sexual reproductive health. When women and girls cannot manage their menstruation adequately and with dignity, it impacts on their rights to education, to work and more broadly on their rights to health and on gender equality and dignity.

Menstrual Hygiene Day

Menstrual hygiene awareness day was created by the German based organization NGO WASH United as recently as 2014. The day was created to normalize the action of menstruation and the importance of access to hygiene during this time, with the support of over 270 global partners.

Interestingly, the reason that May 28th was chosen is that May is the 5th month of the year most women average to having their period for 5 days, and their cycle tends to be at 28 days. So in a way, 28th of May is especially symbolic.

Today ensures that awareness is increased regarding the access to menstrual hygiene that women have across the world. It is a basic human right that women worldwide are given the right materials to collect blood during this time, and that this material is able to be changed in total privacy. The organizers behind this day also assert that correct washing facilities are given to women at this time and that young woman have given the correct educational materials regarding the changes which will occur in their bodies.

Menstruation is a biological fact, and this day aims to ensure that any kind of stigma suffered regarding it is stopped and girls are taught that this is natural and nothing to be ashamed about.

By Elise Kenimbeni

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