Leslie Carol Botha: Time to break the taboos of menstruation. A lack of education about women’s bodies – and the basic access to fem care will always keep women victimized, and therefore susceptible to abuse. The sacred fundamental act of menstruation needs to be accepted and honored before men and women achieve partnership and before women’s accomplishments will be honored.
Menstruation the forgotten development issue: UN body
America’s Word News Site
March 6, 2013 11:16
Aid agencies and governments must tackle the taboos surrounding menstruation as sidelining the issue undermines the quality of life of women and girls, chiefly in poor nations, a UN body said Wednesday.
Poor education about menstruation, lack of access to sanitary napkins and painkillers for cramps, and inadequate washing and disposal facilities have a far-reaching impact on schooling, work and health, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council said.
“From the moment a girl has her first period, she then menstruates for almost 3,500 days throughout her lifetime, every month,” programme manager Archana Patkar said.
“This is the unspoken, silent hygiene and sanitation issue,” she told reporters.
A major concern is that a lack of sanitary napkins and washing facilities means girls miss school because of their bleeding, she said.
“This has a huge fall-out, and many implications. Not only for schools, but also in the workplace, in markets,” she said.
“This is an issue that cuts across health, education, livelihoods and all development outcomes. It’s centre-stage.”
The Council pointed to research in India showing that only 12 percent of girls and women have access to and use sanitary napkins, that many have a poor understanding of menstrual hygiene, and that 23 percent of girls drop out of school after puberty.
“There are two billion women worldwide in the menstruating age group, between 12 and 50. At any given moment, 340 million women and girls are menstruating. So the scale of this is pretty huge,” Patkar said.