World Menstrual Hygiene(MH) Day is celebrated every year on May 28 to highlight the importance of menstrual health & to change the social stigma associated with menstruation. The day is a global platform that brings together the voices & actions of non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media and individuals to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management(MHM) for all women and girls.
Theme of MH day, 2020: ‘’Periods in Pandemic – it is time to take action!”
Idea behind the theme
To highlight how the challenges faced by women during menstruation have worsened due to the ongoing pandemic(COVID-19)
Objective of 2020 MH Day
i.To emphasize the importance of continuing menstrual hygiene awareness and support for women and girls during COVID-19, especially for those living in poverty, the internally displaced, refugees, and those in quarantine and transit centers.
ii.The day recognises that periods do not stop for pandemics in light of the coronavirus crisis, using the hashtag #PeriodsInPandemics(twitter)
Why May 28?
The day is chosen because on an average the menstrual cycle for most women is 28 days and the menstruation period for most women is for five days. Hence, the date was kept as 28/5.
Major Highlights of the day
i.MH day raises awareness of the challenges faced by women and girls around the world due to their menstruation, highlights solutions that address these challenges, breaks the silence & changes negative social norms around MHM
ii.It catalyses a growing global movement and creates opportunities to advocate for the integration of MHM day in global and local policies and projects.
- United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) launched a week-long campaign #RedDotChallenge ahead of the MH Day to ensure whether all girls manage their periods safely and with dignity & has reached 3.2 million through social media.
- It is to recognise the importance of menstrual health and hygiene issues and bring to attention the difficulties faced by adolescent girls, further exacerbated amidst the crisis, according to the statement.
Highlights of UNICEF report
- It shows that 18% of young girls miss school during menstruation. Approximately half cited pain as the reason and a quarter cited fear of leaking. Girls have difficulties talking to their teachers about menstruation challenges at school.
- There is a need to address the cultural taboos that forbid girls from certain activities when menstruating, such as fetching water, engaging in religious activities, cooking.
Background of the day
It was initiated by the German non-profit Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH) United in 2013. WASH United is the overall global coordinator of MH Day and acts as its international secretariat. For the 1st time in 2014 the day was celebrated.
Headquarters– New York, United States
Executive Director– Henrietta Holsman(H.) Fore