Millennium Post

Let's give it a thought

Menstruation is a monthly process that prepares the female body for pregnancy. Beginning at puberty (10-15 years) and ending at menopause (40-50 years), this natural physical function is marked by more stigma and taboo than by information, awareness, and acceptance. A female is pushed to the point of feeling ashamed and apologetic of her nature-endowed period. Not only does this adversely impact the overall well-being of the individual experiencing it, it creates a detrimental misconception which has a range of ill effects on not just women and girls but on the entire society – beginning with the lack of information about general hygiene that one must maintain during this time to keep diseases and infections at bay. It is in order to address all these issues collectively and holistically that the Menstrual Hygiene Day was initiated by the Germany-based NGO WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) United in 2014. Every year, it is celebrated on the 28th of May to destigmatise menstruation all over the world through on-ground and online campaigns and spread awareness about this biological process. Choosing the month of May for the observance of this day is symbolic as May is the 5th month of the year and women menstruate an average of 5 days every month, and 28 was selected to acknowledge that 28 days is the average length of a menstrual cycle. Considering that modern mankind has come such a long way but has been unable to accept a most significant natural process for what it is, the theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 is: 'It's Time for Action'. This theme highlights the need for governments, , NGOs and world bodies like UN agencies to be more proactive in educating women about menstruation, promoting the necessity of hygiene during this time of the month, giving them access to products that ensure hygiene, and removing the taboo that is attached to periods. Each year has a specific theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day in order to address the varying range of issues related to periods. 'NoMoreLimits – Empowering Women and Girls Through Good Menstrual Hygiene' was the theme in 2018, 2017's was 'Education about menstruation changes everything', 'MENSTRUATION MATTERS to everyone, everywhere' was the theme in 2016, 2015 was 'Let's end the hesitation around menstruation'. The purpose of Menstrual Hygiene Day is to create awareness and change negative perceptions around menstrual hygiene. Menstrual hygiene management is particularly challenging for girls and women in developing countries who have no proper access to information or facilities. Traditional approach makes the topic a taboo and exempting it from discussion makes it further difficult for them to address the matter. There are numerous reported instances where girls skip school (and eventually drop out) due to menstruation. For working women, the intense physical discomfort does not count as a genuine reason to take rest. Menstruation is definitely not a problem of females but a process that essentially sustains the human race and so it deserves due respect and attention, and above everything, acceptance by all.

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