Simavi will be asking attention for another subject linked to SDG6; Menstrual Health (MH). Though menstrual health has recently gained attention in the global development agenda, it is still a taboo topic in many countries, where cultural beliefs and social norms restrict the participation of women and girls in society during menstruation.
In addition, limited access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities and sanitary napkins make it difficult for women to manage their menstruation hygienically. As a result, many (young) women face considerable physical and social challenges during menstruation. Furthermore, a girl’s menstruation cultures marks her transition into womanhood. With that transition often comes a broader set of restrictions and roles that girls are expected to align to. Interventions that aim to improve women and girls’ experience of menstrual health can therefore be an opportunity to address a broader set of barriers faced and likewise tackle issues surrounding gender (in)equality.
For this transformation to happen all governments must articulate menstrual hygiene management in relevant policies. Ensuring policy changes are supported by dedicated budgets and resources for policy implementation, as well as capacity development in institutions including schools.
Simavi argues that menstruation truly matters to achieve the SDGs. While there is no specific goal or indicator on MH, menstruation is directly linked to a number of SDGS including but not limited to Goal 3; Goal 4; Goal 5; Goal 6; Goal 8; and Goal 12. As an activity under the MH Alliance, Simavi, WSSCC and other partners jointly organize a side event on MH during the week of HLPF to urge governments to take action.