Advancing Menstrual Health, Education and Economic Progress: A Comparative Study
A conservative estimate suggests that at least 500 million people globally lack adequate education, supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, and socio-legal support to safely manage menstruation, yet each day about 800 million people menstruate (UNICEF & World Bank). More difficult to estimate is how many people lack timely, age appropriate, and accurate information about menstruation. Unfortunately, this normal biological process is far from reaching societal normalization and lack of menstrual health education is a contributing factor.
*New Perimeter, the nonprofit affiliate of the global law firm, DLA Piper, teamed up with Days for Girls International, to research the legal and policy landscape for menstrual rights in education sectors around the world. An interdisciplinary team of more than 20 lawyers, with invaluable insights from over 20 global experts in 12 different countries, researched and drafted, Advancing Menstrual Health, Education and Economic Progress: A Comparative Study between January-August 2022.
The report is divided into the following three parts:
Part I discusses the international instruments that underpin menstruation as a matter of human rights.
Part II reviews menstrual reforms in 12 countries, including the national and local laws, policies, and programs—those existing and forthcoming—that address menstrual health curricula; product distribution; water, sanitation and hygiene facilities; product disposal; social supports; and behavior change interventions in schools and for school-aged children. This research incorporates insights from local subject-matter experts on the successes and setbacks in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating these efforts, and a view into how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted advancements towards menstrual health.
Part III offers transferable recommendations to multi-sectoral stakeholders working on menstrual reforms in other contexts.
The report features interventions in India, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Scotland and the United States. These countries were selected for their diversity in geography, governance, cultural connotations and economic trajectories, with an understanding that resource disparities and scarcities, also in the availability of information, influence menstrual health interventions and advocacy initiatives.
This robust report further underscores impacts on women’s education and economic advancement, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the localized delivery of information, safe supplies and medical care. Most importantly, however, this report demonstrates that progress can be achieved with innovative strategies to improve access to education, products and facilities, and de-stigmatize and enshrine the basic biological practice of menstruation as a human right.
Watch the webinar recording from October 25, 2022 to learn more about this report and how to use it in your advocacy efforts.
*New Perimeter is the nonprofit affiliate of the global law firm, DLA Piper, and is focused on providing long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions to support access to justice, social and economic development, sound legal institutions, and women’s advancement. DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.
Days for Girls International is a global nonprofit working to eliminate the stigma and limitations associated with menstruation through education, products, social entrepreneurship, and advocacy, so that women and girls have improved health, education, and livelihoods.