When the unavailability of menstrual hygiene threatens livesMenstruation is a natural and inevitable process that is experienced by most women and girls around the world. Unfortunately, for many women from economically disadvantaged areas, menstruation becomes a source of great stress and suffering. Menstrual poverty, which is characterised by lack of access to menstrual hygiene and information, is a hidden crisis that has a negative impact on women's health, education and dignity. In this article, we will look at this large-scale problem and explore its implications and the need for urgent solutions.
What is menstrual poverty?
Menstrual poverty refers to a situation in which women and girls do not have access to adequate menstrual hygiene, including an adequate supply of sanitary products, clean water, toilet facilities and hygiene education. This can have serious consequences for their health and well-being.
Consequences of menstrual poverty:
Health problems: the use of improper sanitary products or lack of clean water and sanitation facilities can increase the risk of infections such as urinary tract infections or toxic shock syndrome. Women also often use unhygienic substitutes such as cloths or newspapers, which increases the risk of infections and irritation.
Education limitations: women and girls who do not have access to menstrual hygiene are forced to miss school or work during their menstrual cycle. This repeated absence leads to lack of education and reduced opportunities in life. Many girls end up dropping out of school altogether because of this problem.
Social stigma: In some cultures, menstruation is stigmatized as something dirty or impure. This leads to social isolation and loss of dignity.
Economic burden: Lack of financial resources can deprive women and girls of the opportunity to purchase menstrual hygiene products. They are often forced to choose between basic needs such as food and rent or menstrual products. This situation exacerbates their poverty and deepens the vicious cycle.
Psychological impact: The long-term stress, anxiety and feelings of shame associated with menstrual poverty can have a negative impact on the mental health of women and girls. It can cause depression, low self-esteem and disruption to their overall well-being.
Need for urgent solutions:
Financial support: it is essential that governments and organizations provide funding to ensure an adequate supply of menstrual hygiene products to women and girls who cannot afford them. This should include support for community-based projects that produce and distribute affordable and environmentally friendly products.
Hygiene education: Providing information and education about menstruation is key to removing stigma and raising awareness about menstrual hygiene. It is important to integrate this education into school curricula and community initiatives.
Improving infrastructure: Investing in improved access to clean water, sanitary toilets and waste systems is essential to ensure dignified conditions during menstruation.
Breaking down stigma: It is essential to work to change negative perceptions of menstruation and raise awareness of its nature and importance. This can be achieved through media campaigns, public dialogue and the involvement of community leaders.
Menstrual poverty is a widespread problem that seriously affects the lives of women and girls around the world. It is imperative that urgent action is taken to improve access to menstrual hygiene and eliminate the stigma associated with menstruation.