The Issue of Menstrual Hygiene Management in Low-Income Countries

In low-income countries, many schoolgirls’ education is threatened when taking time off to manage their menses. When girls are unable to access menstrual hygiene resources at school, their education can come to a hiatus or end.

Intelligent young girls are often forced out of school at young ages because they don’t have access to the proper supplies or information.

As a male from a western culture, I understood that poverty plays a role in hindering a girl’s ability to manage their menses when not being able to afford proper menstrual hygiene resources, but I was shocked that such a solvable issue is still a problem mainly due to cultural taboos. I cannot help but think about the difference between my country versus other parts of the world when it comes to menstrual hygiene management. Proper menstrual hygiene management and resources for women and girls is an essential need.

Here are three eye-opening videos that provide additional information:

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools

A detailed video explaining the lack of resources for schoolgirls to manage their menses in low-income countries and how it impacts their education and lives. As girls reach puberty, they lack sanitary washrooms, adequate water, and supportive female teachers to explain the changes happening in their bodies. These factors cause girls to lose focus and not progress academically in school, as they struggle with the physical and mental issues of menstruation. Also, girls will sometimes skip school during menstruation to avoid embarrassment.

No person should ever feel embarrassed when dealing with health-related concerns.

It should be a basic human right to have the proper menstrual hygiene resources available for girls to stay in school and have a successful future.

Check out the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spYDRbBok7k

 

Menstrual Hygiene: Knowledge and Practices in Bangladesh (4 min. version)

In Bangladesh, as well as many other countries, menstruation is affected harshly by cultural taboos, severely hindering educational opportunities for schoolgirls and the problem worsens as they don’t have access to proper menstrual hygiene resources. In these places, menstruation is synonymous with sickness and impurity, and girls are often victims of the cultural stigma surrounding it. From being unable to play outside, avoiding friends and school, and not to even be allowed to talk about this subject, it’s clear that not having the proper menstrual hygiene resources and the cultural stigma surrounding it negatively affects all aspects of girls lives in Bangladesh. Girls have to use the same cloth for months or even years. They often face embarrassment when dealing with this health-related concern in school. The social stigma surrounding menstruation and the lack of resources and knowledge has led to girls missing out on their education and childhoods. These girls should be given the tools to manage their menses safely and properly so that they can live their lives and not miss out on their education.

Check out the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5IP0h7p6Cs

 

India: Managing Menstrual Hygiene

In India, one of the many menstruation myths that is emphasized in society is that a girl cannot touch anything during their period, mainly for the fear of spreading contamination as menstruation is linked to impurity. Girls run the risk of infection from feeling ashamed to wash their sanitary cloths because of religious taboos. This problem often forces girls to use an oversoaked pad or cloth, hindering their performance in school as the discomfort wears on their mind and body.  It’s heartbreaking that up to a quarter of schoolgirls leave school when reaching puberty due to the negative social stigma surrounding menstruation and along with not receiving proper menstrual hygiene resources. Women and girls in India should be given the tools to manage their menses properly and shouldn’t have to lose their education. It’s crucial that women and girls learn proper menstrual hygiene management as they have so much potential to contribute to society. No one should feel ashamed when wanting to go to school.

Check out the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3IyuiwsbJ0

Young girls often don’t have the chance to continue their education past puberty due to the stigma and misinformation about menstruation.

Overall, the issues surrounding menstrual hygiene are preventable and treatable. What gives me hope is that organizations such as UNICEF and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health co-hosting of the Annual Virtual Menstrual Hygiene Management for WASH in Schools Conferences and the UN’s Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council are spreading awareness of the issue, along with providing resources and helping to educate people in low-income countries on proper menstrual hygiene management. If this problem continues, any hope of women and girls in low-income countries achieving a successful future may be threatened and destroyed. Such a positive change would allow women and girls to succeed and contribute to society by finishing their education.

These videos have given me a lot of insight and I hope they do the same for you!

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About the Author

Sam is a third year film studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University. He loves going to the movies. He has recently developed a interest in the environment and is always excited to learn new things. At any time he can seen keeping up with the newest release dates of upcoming movies.

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