The silence and stigma around menstruation can be seen as human rights violations, including the right to non-discrimination, equality, health, privacy and human dignity.  Read more here.

Women and girls lack power at all levels, from the household up to the international level. At home, gender inequality means men often don’t recognize or will not talk about the need for proper menstruation hygiene management. Girls and boys have little access to accurate information about menstruation, often learning few facts but understanding well the cultural restrictions surrounding menstruation.

43-60% of girls in peri-urban areas and 95% of girls in rural areas of Ghana felt embarrassment during their last period, and nearly the same numbers felt ashamed.  Source.

The neglect does not just come from male-dominated societies, however. NGOs and governments have been afraid to tackle the subject as well. A growing focus by UNICEF and other international agencies and foundations is underway. In 2011, the Kenyan government, under pressure from female parliamentarians, set aside nearly $4 million in the national budget to provide sanitary pads to schoolgirls.  Source.

International recognition of the importance of menstrual hygiene is slowly helping to break the silence. Menstrual Hygiene Day, established on May 28, 2014, by the NGO WASH United, and its Twitter hashtag, #Menstruation Matters, is a key element.

Community Development Network of Cameroon is helping girls stay healthy by raising funds to provide sanitary pads and menstrual cups to more than 1,500 girls in over 300 schools in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon. Please visit our website at www.codevnet.org for more information or to donate. Post your story and thoughts on #Menstruation Matters.