Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 | #Wearecommitted: Dignified Menstruation in Schools

Ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Day, marked annually on May 28 to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene management among the people, stakeholders stress the need to ensure that no girl skips school during periods.

Shrutika Raut

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: Policymakers, rights activists, development professionals and other stakeholders on Friday stressed on the need to ensure that menstruation does not stop girls from attending school or participating in other school activities.

In a program organized by Nepal’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in collaboration with Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management Partners’ Alliance (MHM PA Nepal), stakeholders said that the government should assure the girl students to be comfortable during their period. The program was organized with the theme”#Wearecommitted:  Dignified Menstruation in Schools”.

Speaking at the program, participants urged the government officials to train school teachers to effectively teach curriculum about menstrual hygiene. Expressing their concerns for the delay to endorse National Policy for Dignified Menstruation, the participants requsted National Planning Commission to finalize the draft of the policy by ensuring inter ministrial coordination. 

“Menstruation is a biological process in women that signifies that the woman is capable of partaking in the reproductive process, which is why it should be seen as a special ability of women, said Guna Raj Shrestha, National Convener of MHMPA. “The taboo surrounding menstruation is due to historical, societal, cultural and religious malpractices, and we aim to eliminate these practices through awareness.”

In the discussion, Pramila Devi Bajracharya, secretary at Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Saloni Singh Pradhan, member of National Planning Commission, Imanarayan Shrestha, secretary of Ministry of Social Development of Madhesh Pradesh pledge to expedite the efforts to ensure dignified menstruation.

Saloni Singh Pradhan, member of National Planning Commission said that the menstruation awareness has come a long way but there is still room for improvement. ‘We need to unified to fight against menstrual stigma and taboos,” she said. “We need to increase the participation of men in the destigmatization of menstruation, as this is an issue that affects everyone.”

Participants from the community level also shared their experience and observation in the program. Mamata Patak, head teacher of Kishan High School, Bardiya said: “Menstruation education is one of the most important aspects of school education to break the social and cultural taboos for dignified menstruation for girls.”

Role of male students is equally important in reducing stigma and discrimination sorrounding menstruation, Ramesh Regmi, a 10th grader from the same school shared. 

While the use of sanitary pads during menstruation is on the rise, the government now should pay serious attention to other aspects such as availability, quality, utilization and proper disposal (waste management) of pads, participants said. 

While discussing menstrual products, Guna Raj Shrestha said, “In 2020, around 15% women were using pads, and in the future we need to work towards increasing accessibility and affordability of decomposable and reusable pads.”

Nirajan khadka,  Technical Advisor (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights), Plan International Nepal shared that dignified menstruation is a basic human right of every girl and women. “Safe motherhood and reproductive health rights act 2018 has ensured safe and healthy menstrual practice for every woman. Multisector collaboration is the key to further improve the current status of  menstrual heath and hygiene.”