World Menstrual Hygiene Day

World Menstrual Hygiene Day


Normalizing conversations around menstruation and educating children is essential for the future.

  • According to Jaishree Gajaraj, a senior consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at MANGAI Women’s Health Exclusive, many schools are already taking proactive steps by holding educational sessions for children.

GS-02 (Health)


  • Menstrual Hygiene Day was initiated by the Germany-based NGO WASH United in 2013.
  • It began as a 28-day social media campaign to raise awareness about menstruation.
  • The campaign’s positive reception led to the formal establishment of Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2014.

Key highlights:

  • Importance of Conversations: Starting conversations about menstruation helps children by providing appropriate information, dispelling fears and misconceptions, and preparing them for this natural physiological process.
  • Menstrual Hygiene Day Initiative: The #PeriodFriendlyWorld initiative on Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28) aimed to normalize conversations about menstrual hygiene and break taboos and stigma surrounding menstruation and access to menstrual products.
  • Education in Schools and Homes: Educating children about menstruation both at home and in schools is crucial. Sessions in schools and discussions with parents can help girls understand that irregular periods are common in the initial years of menarche.
  • Early Onset of Puberty: The average age of menarche is 13.5 years, but in urban areas, it is around 10.5 to 11.5 years due to factors like obesity, which can trigger early estrogen production and hormonal imbalances.
  • Irregular Periods: Irregular periods are common in the first three years of menarche and should not be a cause for concern. Proper reassurance from mothers can help manage related anxiety.
  • Hygiene Practices: Personal hygiene during menstruation is important. Children should be informed that bathing is necessary and that sanitary pads are readily accessible, with government initiatives providing free pads in schools.
  • Inclusivity in Education: It is important to educate both girls and boys about menstruation to foster a better understanding and normalization of this natural process. Parents and siblings should also be open to questions and discussions to remove any secrecy.

World Menstrual Hygiene Day

  • World Menstrual Hygiene Day, celebrated annually on May 28th, is a global advocacy event dedicated to raising awareness and promoting effective menstrual hygiene management (MHM) practices. This day aims to break the silence and build a world where menstruation is understood as a normal and healthy part of life.
  • The choice of 28th day of the fifth month reflects the typical length of the menstrual cycle, which is around 28 days, and highlights the average duration of menstruation, usually lasting about five days each month.

Importance and Objectives:

Menstrual Hygiene Day highlights several critical aspects of menstrual health:

  • Promoting Menstrual Hygiene: Emphasizing the use of clean and safe menstrual products and maintaining personal hygiene during menstruation.
  • Managing Discomfort: Encouraging effective management of menstrual discomfort to ensure that menstruation does not hinder daily activities.
  • Access to Menstrual Products: Advocating for better access to menstrual products, especially in low-income communities where affordability and availability are significant issues.
  • Education and Knowledge: Encouraging individuals to learn about their bodies, menstrual cycles, and reproductive health to foster informed and empowered choices.
  • Global Impact: The observance of Menstrual Hygiene Day has far-reaching impacts. It not only raises awareness but also fights stigma and misconceptions surrounding menstruation. The day serves as a platform for various stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, and civil society organizations, to collaborate and advance menstrual health initiatives.
  • By marking Menstrual Hygiene Day, we take a step closer to ensuring that menstruation is a normalized and dignified experience for everyone, promoting a healthier, more informed, and inclusive world.

India’s Efforts to Promote Menstrual Hygiene

  • Government Schemes and Policies: The Menstrual Hygiene Scheme, launched in 2011 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, focuses on improving menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in rural areas.
    • The Swachh Bharat guidelines of 2015 incorporated menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools, ensuring the provision of sanitary pads, vending and disposal mechanisms, and exclusive washrooms for girls.
  • Affordable Sanitary Products: The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers runs the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojna (PMBJP), which has established over 8,700 Janaushidhi Kendras across India. These centers provide oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins named Suvidha at an affordable price of Rs. 1 per pad.
  • State-Level Initiatives: Various states have launched their own programs to distribute subsidized or free sanitary napkins to adolescent girls. Notable initiatives include Asmita Yojana in Maharashtra, Udaan in Rajasthan, Swechcha in Andhra Pradesh, She Pad in Kerala, and Khusi in Odisha.
  • Sustainable Alternatives: The governments of Kerala and Karnataka have been promoting the use of menstrual cups as a sustainable alternative to sanitary napkins, distributing them to women and girls to encourage eco-friendly menstrual hygiene practices.