Scroll Top

MENSTRUAL EQUITY: NEED TO INCORPORATE AS A HUMAN RIGHT

INTRODUCTION

The best strategy to encourage ideal menstrual health hygiene and enhance growth and development for women and adolescent girls is to take a multifaceted approach that combines education with facilities goods, and steps to eliminate social conventions and prejudices around the problem. The Millennium Declaration, the International Conference on Population and Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals for topics like gender equality, water quality, and health did not place a high premium on menstrual health. To dispel the stigma attached to menstrual health protection and promote awareness of women’s experiences with discrimination and a lack of supplies, it has been included in the agendas of global health, education, human rights, and gender equality/equity. To comprehend and eliminate the obstacles faced by individuals while trying to get menstrual hygiene products, the stigma associated with menstruation must be confronted. To advance the freedoms of women, girls, and other individuals who menstruate and satisfy their complete menstrual medical requirements, particularly in humanitarian situations, the WHO is dedicated to intensifying its endeavours to push public health officials and managers of programmes to engage with these sectors. WHO acknowledges that a variety of sectors must play equally significant responsibilities in promoting and protecting menstrual health. Today, a menstrual health and hygiene component can be found in more than half of the World Bank’s water supply and sanitation projects.

MILESTONE FOR MENSTRUAL HEALTH

A “Pink Tax” is imposed on women by the majority of countries and states in the United States, designating menstruation hygiene products as luxury items and increasing their cost and availability. By increasing social shame and making it more difficult for women to buy supplies, this further stigmatizes menstruation and maintains health and educational imbalances. To lower obstacles to menstrual care and lessen societal stigma, Menstrual Equity offers equal and accessible access to menstrual supplies and debunks misinformation about the reproductive process.

Scotland’s Period Products Bill, which grants “free universal access to period products” and makes menstruation products available to everyone, was approved at the beginning of 2020. As a result, Scotland became the first country to do so. The Period Products Bill will improve women’s rights, but repealing the Pink Tax as a separate piece of legislation will be very beneficial.

CHALLENGES FACED

The stigma attached to menstruation across numerous societies, the absence of affordable and accessible options, and these factors together have a wide range of detrimental impacts on women and girls that significantly restrict their involvement in public life. Inadequate access to education for tackling restrictions and prejudice, an absence of sanitation and water services, and persistent concerns with menstruation health are just a few of the problems that COVID-19 has identified. 

However, campaigns and government engagement in spreading awareness have helped to promote menstrual health and reduce the stigma associated with it in many countries. Additional legislative options to consider include the distribution of menstrual products to those with limited incomes for gratis or at cheaper prices, as well as in public places like universities and homes.  To encourage local company owners to make their items, subsidies may also be used. By utilizing commercial strategies to advance social objectives, entrepreneurs can provide minimally expensive services to clients in various kinds of companies. 

Another feasible option is direct conditional cash transfers, which resemble a card with discounts that customers use to purchase era items. Studies show that giving women the option of making decisions about their finances increases their sense of empowerment. Additionally, giving low-income people access to affordable items may contribute to changing how society sees the significance and value of such things.

There are multiple opportunities to promote female employment and business ownership in the production of affordable, high-quality menstrual hygiene products. Several problems regarding expense, sustainability in the environment, and sexual and reproductive wellness may be resolved by encouraging the development and supply of sanitary items. By way of example, increasing the manufacturing of biodegradable menstruation products provides women with greater job alternatives while simultaneously assisting in the reduction of solid waste. Additionally, removing restrictions and prejudices related to menstruation may be accomplished to a great extent by integrating messaging concerning female reproductive health in the packaging of goods and marketing.

Along with becoming affordable, ensuring the quality of menstrual hygiene products is crucial, particularly for individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who may need to use these products for longer durations. These criteria may include factors such as absorption capacity, comfort, durability, and the types of fabrics used in manufacturing. By establishing and enforcing such standards, the availability of reliable and high-quality menstrual products can be assured, promoting the well-being and satisfaction of users, particularly those with limited resources.

SUGGESTIONS

Various spheres have taken part in performing equally essential roles in encouraging and maintaining menstrual health to promote the freedoms enjoyed by women, girls, and other individuals who menstruate and to satisfy their entire menstrual health requirements, especially under humanitarian circumstances. These industries have pledged to ramp up their efforts to get programme directors and health officials to interact with them. It is essential to end the judgment and disdain around menstruation and make institutions like universities, medical centres, and other healthcare institutions menstruation responsible. When providing a more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health response for people who are relocated due to conflict or natural disasters, authorities should pay particular consideration to menstruation. To reduce unneeded disposal from wrapped separately sanitary pads and tampons, reusable items such as menstruation cups or pants ought to be subsidized and their application should be promoted. An increasing number of women could decide to utilize these products if they are promoted, endorsed, and affordably priced. Additionally, free sanitary items must be made readily accessible on campuses. 

  • To acknowledge and interpret menstruation as a health concern rather than a hygiene concern – a health issue with physical, psychological, and social dimensions, and one that needs to be addressed in the perspective of a life course – from before menarche to after menopause.
  • Realizing that women, girls, and other individuals must maintain good menstruation health who menstruate, have access to information and education about it; the menstrual products they need; water, sanitation, and disposal facilities; to competent and emphatic care when necessary and adequate menstrual-management facilities; to actively engage in professional and interactions with others, as well as to live, learn, and function in a setting where menstruation is viewed as beneficial and healthy rather than a cause to be embarrassed about.
  • To make sure that these endeavours are included in the relevant sectors’ work strategies and budgets and that criteria for performance are applied to assess them.

Importantly, these requirements cannot be met in the absence of a supportive policy environment. In terms of infrastructure, this can entail establishing specifications for sanitary facilities. Regulations that should forbid discriminatory practices that limit women’s involvement in social life while they are menstruating might be included in schooling. This article focused primarily on changes to make menstrual hygiene products more reasonably priced and widely available because of the ongoing supply chain disruptions and the growing cost of living problem worldwide. Thus, bringing a positive change and making it a Human right. The World Bank Group as a whole shares this dedication to good menstrual hygiene and health.

Author(s) Name: Vidhi Maheshwari (Sharda University, Greater Noida)