WEAW has started a massive national campaign around sanitation and hygiene, a safe space to talk about menstruation. The response was tremendous, women and girls gathered in large numbers with mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends to discuss, share and ask the most intimate of questions. They tested simple training and communication tools and partnered in developing methodologies to break the silence and create safe menstrual hygiene management conditions together.
Menstruation and menstrual hygiene are emerging as pivotal issues for gender equality, human rights and development.Menstruation is a sign of female health and vitality and can no more be shrouded in fear, shame or embarrassment. Breaking the silence around menstruation is essential for women and girls to be able to reach their full potential.
It is estimated that an average woman will have 3,000 days of menstruation. That requires a lot of pads. Unfortunately, sanitary napkins are too expensive for most women living in rural areas throughout many low- and middle-income countries.
A study by AC Nielsen found that only 12% of women in India can afford and have access to pads. Most women resort to using rags, straw, leaves, and even soil. This means that the time of the month is not only uncomfortable and unhygienic, but it also leaves many girls ashamed to be on their periods. In a study conducted by water aid, an Indian teenager asked, ““How can I wash blood in the toilet? The drain that leads out is not covered. My father and brothers are in the courtyard.”