World Menstrual Hygiene Day | ActionAid UK

World Menstrual Hygiene Day

World Menstrual Hygiene Day takes place on 28 May every year. By breaking the silence around periods, and tackling the stigma often associated with them, it raises awareness of the importance of menstrual hygiene in helping women and girls reach their full potential. 

Periods are not the problem. The problem is the lack of access to sanitary products that enable women and girls to manage their menstrual health and hygiene. Clean and safe sanitary products are not a ‘nice-to-have’ – they are essential for women and girls to take control of their lives and break out of poverty.

Menstrual care is a human right.

How you can help

A regular gift from you could help ActionAid make sure that women and girls don’t face discrimination because of their periods and that they have access to clean and safe sanitary products.

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Tackling period taboos

Periods are a normal part of life, but stigma, shame and period poverty are holding millions back.

Women have the right to control their own bodies. When women and girls are denied the ability to manage their periods with dignity, cycles of poverty and gender inequality become harder to break. ActionAid helps women and girls say #MyBodyIsMine, by ensuring that their periods don’t hold them back.

Periods and girls’ education

It’s estimated that one in 10 girls in Africa will miss school when they have their periods.1 When girls miss several days of school a month, they are more likely to drop out altogether, putting them at greater risk of early child marriage.

ActionAid provides schoolgirls with sanitary towels and works with communities to improve access to toilets so that girls are able to continue their schooling uninterrupted. In our girls’ clubs and girls’ rooms in schools, we help girls get information about periods, sex and pregnancy, so that they are better informed about their bodies.

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Periods and humanitarian disasters 

Women who have lost everything as a result of humanitarian crises tell us that amongst the essential items they need most are sanitary towels, wipes and soap. Without sanitary towels, women and girls are forced to use improvised methods to manage their periods, including torn pieces of clothing and rags, which can cause painful infections. 

In humanitarian emergencies, ActionAid provides hygiene kits which can include soap, sanitary towels and clean underwear, helping women and girls manage their periods with dignity. 

Sanitary towels changing lives in Malawi

In Malawi, ActionAid is training mums in communities to make reusable, low-cost sanitary towels for the poorest girls. These simple sanitary pads are changing lives.

Before, girls who couldn’t afford sanitary pads felt unable to go to school because they were teased by boys if their clothes became stained. Now, not only are girls able to stay in school, but their mums are also building long-term businesses by selling their extra products at the market. This provides the mums with opportunities to earn an income and support their families. 

You may also be interested in…

How access to sanitary products and safe toilets helps keep girls in schools.

Read our latest blogs about periods.

Help women and girls access sanitary towels in a humanitarian disaster.


Page updated 3 August 2018