CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF ADOLESCENCE (CSA)

Breaking Menstrual Bias

On average a majority of women have a cycle of 28 days and the process takes up to five days every month. This is among the reasons why we observe menstrual hygiene management day every year. It is the day of creating awareness and demystifying taboos around menstrual hygiene management. Progress has been noted as now adolescent girls, young women and men can talk about menstrual hygiene openly without the stigmatization I experienced growing up. This has been made possible by having consistent conversations and campaigns on menstrual hygiene management. 

What does Menstrual hygiene management mean to a young woman or any woman for that matter? To me, it’s simply having enough menstrual napkins, clean panties, clean accessible safe toilets, running clean tap water, and a sanitary disposal bin during my cycle. Inadequate public toilets in the urban and rural areas are a major problem as we sometimes have to walk with already stained pads looking for a place we can change up. WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities are key in menstrual hygiene management. 

Having these facilities means we can observe hygiene and safeguard our dignity during this time because the process of changing pads is a messy one. Sometimes you can soil your clothes and you will need water to rescue you from shame as adequate WASH facilities go hand in hand with menstrual hygiene management. 

The Spanish cabinet approved a bill that grants women workers monthly menstrual leave days to rest, recharge and take care of themselves during this period. South Korea and Indonesia are other countries that have granted women paid menstrual leaves. This is a step toward proper menstrual hygiene management and would the ministry of labor follow suit as women can conveniently take care of their hygiene much better, eat healthily, and experience cramps without the pressure from the workplace which also weighs on their mental health.

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