How Menstrual Health Impacts Education
How does Menstrual Health & Hygiene (MHH) influence girls’ ability to succeed? One major way is through its impact on education.
Education is a key determinant of better livelihood options, greater economic mobility and ability to thrive. In fact, it has such a strong impact on a person’s quality of life that it was declared a universal human right more than 70 years ago. Yet countless girls 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 face barriers to staying in school, including (but not limited to) menstrual inequity.
Period poverty can be detrimental to a girl’s school attendance, test scores, and completion of secondary education – potentially clipping her wings for life. According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, when girls miss school because of their periods, it puts them a full 145 days behind their male counterparts.
It’s a devastating trend that impacts menstruators all around the world:
In India, 23% of girls drop out of school because they lack access to toilets and sanitary pads.
A study in Ethiopia reported that 56% of girls were absent from school because they did not have menstrual health supplies.
31% of participants in a Brazilian study shared that they had missed school or regular daily activities due to menstrual health issues.
29% of menstruators surveyed in New Zealand stated that they missed school or work due to lack of access to period products according to a 2019 study by KidsCan.
84% of teenage menstruators in one US survey have either missed class or know someone who missed class because they didn’t have access to period products.
A study in Bangladesh showed that 42% of girls reported missing at least one day of school a month due to menstruation.
Menstrual inequity is an undeniable driver of school absenteeism -- but that’s not all. Stigma (that fuels teasing from classmates), inadequate bathroom (WASH) facilities and shame/anxiety also negatively impact menstruators’ participation in school, and lead to worse overall educational outcomes.
The good news is: it doesn’t have to be this way. At Days For Girls, our calling is to shift this harmful global paradigm by providing innovative menstrual health solutions, supportive policies and MHH trainings that shatter taboos. We’re building a better world where all menstruators are able to stay (and fully engage) in school, chase their dreams, and walk the path toward their best and brightest futures – without menstruation getting in the way.
Can you think of anything more worth fighting for?