Menstrual care is a human right. When women and girls are denied the ability to manage their periods with dignity, cycles of poverty and gender inequality become harder to break. That's why on World Menstrual Hygiene Day ActionAid is helping women and girls say #MyBodyIsMine, by ensuring that their periods don't hold them back.
Period poverty isolates women and girls
Period poverty – when women and girls can’t afford or don’t have access to safe sanitary products – and persisting taboos around periods mean some women and girls are forced to manage their periods in uncomfortable, unsanitary and ineffective ways. This leaves many women and girls isolated and unable to claim their basic rights, such as going to school or taking part in community life.
It’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Monday — women and girls shouldn’t be held back just because they have periods. With your support, we can train women and girls to make reusable sanitary towels, so they always have access to clean, affordable sanitary products. #MHD2018 pic.twitter.com/M8ZRY5jESe— ActionAid UK (@ActionAidUK) May 23, 2018
All women and girls have the right to control their own bodies. In western Nepal, ActionAid is supporting women who are campaigning against ‘chhaupadi’, a practice that forces women and girls to leave their homes each month during their period. Banished to a small hut, they have no running water and only rags to stop the blood.
“My body is mine means control over my body”
Chhaupadi has been illegal in Nepal since 2005, but it still continues in some communities. Twenty-year-old Rama Bhandari (pictured above) is campaigning against chhaupadi, so that no woman or girl is banished because of her body.
“My body is mine means control over my body,” Rama says. For her, this extends beyond chhaupadi and covers all aspects of women and girls’ lives. “It’s our right to choose when to get married and when to bear children,” she says.
ActionAid supports women and girls to reclaim their bodies
By supporting local activists like Rama, ActionAid has helped women and girls reclaim their bodies by establishing at least 11 chhaupadi-free communities in western Nepal in the past five years. We’re also training girls to make reusable sanitary towels, so they have access to clean, safe sanitary protection every month.
Shame continues to undermine the confidence of women and girls in a gross variety of ways worldwide — from bullying by classmates to isolation in windowless mudhuts. #MHD2018 pic.twitter.com/RNWtnKEYs3— ActionAid UK (@ActionAidUK) May 24, 2018
ActionAid is tackling period taboos and improving access to sanitary products, so that all women and girls can say #MyBodyIsMine.
Share this blog to say #MyBodyIsMine on World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
By supporting #MyBodyIsMine, you can reclaim your body, side with survivors and shine a spotlight on violence against women and girls.
Photo credits: Poulomi Basu/ActionAid