Every year on May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed. It highlights the importance of good menstrual hygiene management at a global level. Since the onset of the COVID – 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, millions of women and girls have suffered from poor menstrual hygiene and health. In India people’s ability to manage their menstruation and health is being harmed by a lack of resources and poverty.
“Menstrual health is a human right,” states the UNO. But sadly, menstruation is leading to discrimination, stigma, and marginalisation of women and girls. “Action and Investment in Menstrual Hygiene and Health” is the theme for this year.
However, we know the fact that health supplies and related health services are difficult to get for people living in poverty-stricken areas. Women have no access to period hygiene products, including sanitary pads and tampons, menstrual cups, reusable napkins, pain medication, and soap, as a result of Covid – 19 lockdowns and economic disruptions in various countries.
It is high time to create extra awareness on the issue amid the pandemic. We must educate on this issue by shattering taboos surrounding menstruation, breaking the silence, and changing the negative social norms around it. We also need to create a safe environment at work and home where no woman or girl is restricted by her period, which is a natural occurrence. We must join our hands to end the period stigma, and need to normalise it.
It’s time we women end the hesitation around menstruation. More action and investment in menstrual health and hygiene by providing easier access to clean materials for menstrual hygiene, supportive infrastructures, pain relief as well as safe and private disposal options is the need of the hour.