How Lack of Menstrual Education Fuels Stigma Around It

Since ancient times, menstruation has been stigmatized. This stigma can be exacerbated by a lack of menstrual education, and we must end the cycle. There is a stigma attached to menstruation in many parts of the world. Due to social pressure not to talk about menstruation, many women associate their period with feelings of shame, discomfort, and secrecy. Despite the fact that a quarter of the world experiences menstruation on a monthly basis, the subject remains taboo and uncomfortable. These stigmas are ingrained in society’s culture and have been handed down from generation to generation.

This stigma will persist if menstruation education is not provided, which will further exacerbate period poverty. The conversation about menstruation will continue to be dominated by these harmful ideas and misconceptions about menstruation that have been around for a long time. These ideas have become so ingrained in society that it is necessary to actively learn about and discuss menstruation in order to end the stigma associated with periods and menstruation. It is essential to manage one’s period safely and hygienically. However, a lack of understanding and conversation about periods is caused by the stigma and secrecy surrounding menstruation.

Many girls do not have a complete and accurate understanding of menstruation, according to a United Nations survey. Girls need to be educated in order to properly manage their menstrual hygiene. Girls should be in a position where they understand what a period is, why they get one, and have access to resources to properly manage their periods when they get their first one. A number of health issues can result from improper period management. There may be general abdominal pain, cramping, or soreness. In more severe cases, infections like yeast infections or infections of the urinary tract may occur. These women may be more likely to experience infertility as a result of these health issues.

Girls and women who are menstruating may suffer physical harm as a result of a lack of understanding and education. Methods that are unsafe or incorrect can be passed down through generations. Girls may choose to manage their hygiene in ways that aren’t clean or safe for them, like using clothes that aren’t clean or leaving tampons in for too long. To avoid infection, clothes should be washed and cleaned properly. However, due to the secrecy and shame associated with menstruation, particularly in developing nations, girls are often embarrassed to wash and hang them properly and as a result, they are frequently dirty.

What role do schools play in menstrual hygiene and health

Providing adolescent girls with the knowledge, sanitary products, and facilities they need to understand and manage their menstruation are just a few of the many interventions that are involved in menstrual health and hygiene management. These interventions extend beyond those that are carried out in schools. Adolescent sexual and reproductive health education, particularly programming centered on puberty, is crucial to the success of these interventions. The issue of “period poverty” is another obstacle that many nations have yet to overcome. Period poverty is caused by a wide range of factors, including a lack of affordable and high-quality sanitary products, inadequate facilities for managing menstruation, a lack of information about menstruation, and the stigma associated with it. Girls often lack access to these resources, but schools are places where they can get them.

In many nations, schools still have a hard time making sure they have enough facilities for girls. According to a World Bank study on the relationship between gender and water, “the existence of a separate toilet is not sufficient to ensure that women and girls use it.” Privacy, cleanliness, safety, and access to water are important. Even if male and female students use separate restrooms, running water and soap are necessary for good hygiene. In a study conducted in 2019, the World Health Organization discovered that 70% of schools in the least developed countries lacked sufficient handwashing facilities and soap. Girls have more privacy when toilet latrines have doors that can lock and close properly. Additionally, sanitary products require proper disposal facilities in these restrooms, which are frequently lacking.

The numbers that surround this are startling. “A survey of 62 primary schools in rural western Kenya found that 84 percent of the schools had separate toilets for girls, but 77 percent of these did not have a lock and only 13 percent had water in or near the latrine,” according to the same World Bank report. In addition, only 10% of schools reported providing girls with sanitary pads on a regular basis. In the majority of schools that were surveyed, arrangements for disposing of used sanitary pads were inadequate. Lastly, schools can provide sufficient information about menstruation, puberty, and hygiene management as part of or independently of sexual and reproductive health education. However, prior to their periods, many girls continue to receive insufficient information.

What are we doing?

We at ZamZam Foundation Inc. hold workshops in underprivileged areas to break the taboo about menstrual hygiene, discuss proper use and disposal of pads and other menstrual products, and encourage menstrual hygiene. Our goal is to educate girls and women in underserved areas about the significance of menstrual hygiene. We also hold workshops to shift the focus to sustainable menstruation practices in more urban areas. The goal of The Jute Pad Project is to educate urban women about the dangers of using traditional menstrual pads made of plastic and chemicals, despite the fact that they may have access to more information and menstruation products. The goal of the Jute Pad Project is to inform women about eco-friendly methods of menstrual hygiene and the impact they have on both their health and the environment. We hope to contribute to the end of a perilous stigma that negatively affects the lives of many girls worldwide.

In order to end the cycle of this harmful, deeply ingrained social stigma, menstrual education is crucial. In addition, it is essential to instruct women on safe and sanitary methods of managing their menstrual cycles. Because education is the first step in emphasizing the importance of proper facilities and products for managing one’s period and the importance of doing so, menstrual education will play a role in reducing period poverty. Definitely, things are changing slowly. Although attitudes have changed and people are now more willing to talk about menstruation, there is still a lot of work to be done.

To encourage education and action, we urge you to discuss your menstrual cycle openly and honestly!

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