Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021

Salina Khatun, a 23-year-old Bangladeshi woman, last right, known as Tattahakallayani or Info Lady, sits with a group of Bangladeshi girls, aged between 12 and 17, hold courtyard meeting to teach about menstruation, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and use of contraceptives at Saghata, a remote impoverished farming village in Gaibandha district, 120 miles (192 kilometers) north of capital Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dozens of Healthcare Providers known as “Info Ladies” bike into remote Bangladeshi villages with laptops

Every May 28, nonprofits, government agencies, the private sector, the media, and individuals come together to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) and advocate for the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Over 800 million women and girls menstruate every day, yet across the globe they face barriers to properly managing their periods. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these barriers.

The social stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation often prevent women and girls from attending work and school. Even when they do attend while menstruating, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, lack of sanitation infrastructure such as private toilets and handwashing facilities, and lack of menstrual hygiene education can prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home.

USAID's work in the menstrual hygiene field includes developing design standards for female-friendly facilities, creating educational resources, promoting the availability of MHM-–related supplies, and destigmatizing menstruation. The provision of adequate and safe sanitation can promote equity and opportunity, which, in turn, contributes to the erosion of long-standing discrimination and societal norms that reinforce traditional roles, prejudices, and expectations. USAID also works with host governments to draft national MHM strategies.

Better WASH and management of water resources means better health, nutrition, opportunity, and dignity for women and girls. Women and girls stand to benefit at higher rates and in unique ways from safe, reliable, and sustainable water security, sanitation, and hygiene. It frees up more of their time for education and employment, reduces their vulnerability to gender-based violence, provides privacy and dignity, enhances women’s and girls’ success, and increases their voice, agency, and economic empowerment.

To learn more about USAID's efforts to help women and girls reach their full potential, check out the resources below:

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