Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019

Schoolgirls in Ghana exiting a new toilet facility, made possible by the Improved WASH in Ghana project by the Water and Development Alliance (WADA). Photo credit: WADA

Every May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) raises awareness and combats taboos associated with menstrual hygiene with the goal of enabling women and girls to achieve their full potential.

Globally, more than half of women are currently of reproductive age—and menstruation is a monthly reality. Yet all around the world, many women lack access to menstrual hygiene products or sanitation facilities, either due to limited availability or excessive cost. Myths and stigmas surrounding menstruation cause some women and girls to miss school or work or go into isolation. Women and men of all ages must be made aware of the importance of menstrual hygiene through an open dialogue and education at home and in school to foster engagement with this often unspoken issue.

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019—It's Time for Action—not only emphasizes the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to empower the world’s women and girls and unlock their economic and educational opportunities. MH Day brings together non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media, and individuals to advocate for and promote the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM). 

USAID’s sanitation programs are designed to meet the specific needs of women and girls. MHM is a critical aspect of addressing women’s and girls’ empowerment by alleviating a major constraint to their participation in education and public life. USAID’s work in this area includes developing design standards for facilities, creating educational resources, promoting the availability of MHM-related supplies, and destigmatizing menstrual hygiene. The provision of adequate and safe sanitation can promote equity and opportunity, which, in turn, contributes to the establishment of equality, and the erosion of long-standing discrimination and societal norms that reinforce traditional roles, prejudices, and expectations. USAID activities include promoting and providing supplies for MHM in households and schools, and working with host governments to draft national MHM strategies.

To learn more about how USAID is going the extra mile to support improved MHM, visit our Menstrual Hygiene Day resource collection on Globalwaters.org.