The 28th of May is marked as Menstrual Hygiene Day. Its aim is to draw attention to the lack of appropriate menstrual hygiene facilities for girls and women in many countries around the World.
One consequence of failure to provide such facilities is that it is a major contributor to the fact that almost 100 million girls do not attend high school,
Menstrual hygiene is NOT just an issue for girls and women, as dismissive of it as many men have been and remain. It is highly likely that the lack of appropriate facilities is largely a result of patriarchal societies and remains so. However, leaving that aside, it is an issue for all of us, men and women, because it severely limits the potential of these girls being realised, for we know that education is a critical factor influencing life chances.
Nor is the lack of appropriate menstrual hygiene facilities an issue only for the majority World. The attitudes that allow this situation to continue, exist in wealthy, “developed World” countries, too. Yes, these countries may have ample facilities for menstrual hygiene but the indifference of patriarchy persists. In Australia, for example, one of the richest nations in the World, there is a general tax on goods and services levied by the Federal government, known as the Goods and Services Tax [GST]. This is an “across the board” tax, however, exemptions are available in some circumstances and for some items. Despite this and continual lobbying by groups on behalf of women, successive governments have refused to exempt female hygiene products from the tax.
It is past time that this gender discrimination ended. In 2017 it is ludicrous that one-half of the human race is discriminated against simply because of the need to attend to the implications of a natural biological imperative.
Please, whether you are male or female and wherever you are, be a global citizen and lobby your political representatives to change their attitudes and ensure that girls and women no longer suffer diminished life chances or unfair financial disadvantage simply for being female.