Menstrual Hygiene Day: Together for a Period Friendly World

28 May, 2024


May 28 is celebrated annually as World Menstrual Hygiene Day, and this year’s theme is ‘Together for a Period Friendly World.’

Despite being a natural biological process that millions of people with uteruses of reproductive ages undergo worldwide, menstruation continues to be associated with taboo, social stigma, and a lack of awareness in many parts of the world. This directly affects awareness regarding menstrual hygiene, a problem that is further exacerbated by the lack of access to clean sanitation, period-friendly restrooms, and affordable and safe menstrual products. Poor menstrual hygiene negatively impacts the health, social status, and wellbeing of those who menstruate. For instance, poor menstrual hygiene can lead to urinary tract infections, resulting in potential birth complications and infertility, or in severe cases, pelvic inflammatory disease. In some parts of India, menstruating people are considered ‘impure’ and ‘untouchable’ for the days that they are on their periods. Similarly, many women, girls, and menstruating people use ineffective methods to absorb menstrual blood, which restricts them from participating in day-to-day activities.

Hence, menstrual hygiene management is crucial so that people of reproductive ages are able to live safe, unrestricted, and healthy lives.

SRHM actively supports the cause of enhancing awareness surrounding menstruation and addressing the challenges in achieving menstrual hygiene. Several of our studies have focused on how implementation of local reproductive health and educational programs can enhance menstrual hygiene and help break the taboos around this process.

An SRHM paper published in 2021, ‘Improving menstrual hygiene management among adolescent girls in tribal areas of Gujarat: an evaluation of an implementation model integrating the government service delivery system’, notes that most women and girls in rural areas in India lacked awareness on menstrual hygiene management, access to sanitary products, and period-friendly facilities in schools, homes, and workplaces. This study, which was conducted in 202 villages in the Narmada district of Gujarat, discusses an intervention for the development of menstrual health management corners and committees at schools and Anganwadi centres in the district. The intervention involved capacity building of 892 government frontline health workers and teachers, who supported increasing access to menstrual absorbents and raising awareness. This resulted in improved awareness regarding the cause of menstruation, a reduction in school absenteeism due to menstruation, and a marked increase in the proportion of girls who began using clean and safe menstrual absorbents.

Another important resource which was published in the SRHM journal is a resource for improving menstrual hygiene around the world, ‘Bookshelf: Menstrual Hygiene Matters’. It is based on extensive research on the challenges faced by people who menstruate, and the ways they are addressed, especially in developing nations. The authors have used this information to create this detailed handbook, which provides practical guidance on how to ensure menstrual hygiene using new and existing effective methods.

Please find below a list of papers on different aspects menstrual hygiene preparedness and management published by SRHM over the years:


Coming of age: a qualitative study of adolescent girls’ menstrual preparedness in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Jordan
Ghandour, R., Hammoudeh, W., Giacaman, R., et al.


Improving menstrual hygiene management among adolescent girls in tribal areas of Gujarat: an evaluation of an implementation model integrating the government service delivery system
Vayeda, M., Ghanghar, V., Desai, S., et al.

Menstrual health: a definition for policy, practice, and research
Hennegan, J., Winkler, I. T., Bobel, C., et al.

Seeking synergies: understanding the evidence that links menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health and rights
Wilson, L. C., Rademacher, K. H., Rosenbaum, J., et al.


Exploring young women’s menstruation-related challenges in Uttar Pradesh, India, using the socio-ecological framework
McCammon, E., Bansal, S., Hebert, L. E., et al.


What’s missing in MHM? Moving beyond hygiene in menstrual hygiene management
Thomson, J., Amery, F., Channon, M., & Puri, M.


Wealthy, urban, educated. Who is represented in population surveys of women’s menstrual hygiene management?
Hennegan, J., Shannon, A. K., & Schwab, K. J.


Bookshelf: Menstrual Hygiene Matters: a resource for improving menstrual hygiene around the world
by Sarah House, Thérèse Mahon, Sue Cavill
Co-published by WaterAid and 17 other organisations, 2012

Improving quality of life with new menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent tribal girls in rural Gujarat, India
Shah, S. P., Nair, R., Shah, P. P., et al.