Menstrual Hygiene Awareness on International Women’s Day 2022
We've come a long way from the "dark ages" when being a woman meant having near-to-zero rights status. Then, even civilizations with the most advanced cultures kept many areas of society off-limits to women. For instance, the women of sophisticated Athens married soon after puberty, couldn't own substantial property, or participate in the state's affairs.
Today, through the dogged perseverance of courageous people like Susan B. Anthony, one of the pioneers of the feminine rights movement, to female activists Malala Yousafzai and Shamma bint Suhail Faris Mazrui, women's voices are now stronger and clearer.
However, despite the strides in feminine empowerment, biases and prejudices still persist. Gender inequality continues to limit opportunities and create poor working and living conditions for women in different countries. Such situations call for more intentionality and increased efforts to remind the world of our worth as women and our valuable role in society. One such initiative is International Women's Day 2022.
International Women's Day 2022: Celebrating Femininity
It was in 1975 when the United Nations (UN) first celebrated International Women's Day (IWD) with two objectives in mind:
- "To recognize that securing social progress, peace, and the full enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human rights require the active participation, equality, and development of women."
- "To acknowledge women's contribution to the strengthening of international peace and security."
Since then, on the 8th of March, the global community comes together to honor women everywhere. Executive Director of UN Women Sima Bahous expressed IWD's reason for being in this powerful statement: "On International Women's Day, we celebrate the power and potential of women and girls. We recognize their courage, resilience, and leadership. We mark the ways in which we are making progress towards a more gender-equal world."
By observing International Women's Day 2022, we can put the focus on women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. At the same time, we can also bring attention to our current struggles and continuing challenges. Indeed, there are hard-won gains, such as increased participation in government and the workplace and inclusion in educational programs. However, genuine equality remains beyond our grasp. By this, we mean a truly inclusive world where women are free to live without the burden of biases.
Thus, the theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakThe Bias, encouraging us to stand our ground and call out instances of discrimination at home, in school, or in the workplace. One crucial step towards this direction is enhancing menstrual hygiene awareness, the lack of which promotes misconceptions and biases detrimental to the perception and treatment of women and girls everywhere.
The Importance of Menstrual Hygiene Awareness
Menstrual hygiene is the observance of sanitary practices to empower women to manage their menstrual cycles effectively, ensuring the protection and maintenance of their health and dignity. How so?
In these supposedly enlightened modern times, many females are constantly exposed to humiliation, even persecution, because of the lack of correct understanding about menstruation and how to properly manage it. In rural Nepal, for instance, menstruation is equal to impurity. The illiterate belief is that menstruating individuals bring bad luck and poor health to the people around them. Thus, women are cast out and forced to stay in squalid sheds during their menstrual period, endangering their physical and psychological health. Risks include illnesses from poor and unhygienic living conditions, snake bites, and sexual assaults. Those who resist are subjected to exclusion and physical or verbal abuse.
Elsewhere, many girls also face similar circumstances. For example, in India, only 50% of girls have any knowledge about menstruation before their first period. The figure is even lower in Tanzania and Ethiopia at 25%. In total, an estimated 500 million females lack access to adequate menstrual hygiene resources.
The lack of menstrual hygiene awareness is a complex one, stemming from various factors such as poverty, inadequate facilities, community desensitization, illiteracy, traditional and religious beliefs. As such, a multipronged and multisectoral approach is necessary to successfully overcome it. The celebration of International Women's Day 2022 helps bring attention to women's unabated sufferings and struggles by promoting activities that target gender biases, including misconceptions about menstrual hygiene.
Promoting Activities that #BreakTheBias
International Women's Day 2022 sends out a clarion call to attain equal rights and opportunities for women through promoting activities to #BreakTheBias.
Leveraging Insights from Global Women's Health Indices
The Global Health 50/50 report is a non-partisan initiative to advance action and accountability for gender equality. It provides information on how organizations address the inequitable distribution of privileges and power in the workplace. It also helps create women-empowering policies dealing with key issues such as lack of gender-inclusive health programs and sexual harassment.
Through constantly monitoring such data-driven reports, IWD helps steer the conversation and influence policymakers in government, law enforcement, and private institutions. This way, they can make informed decisions and create effective and sustainable strategies to dismantle prevailing gender biases.
Pushing #BreakTheBias Campaigns
IWD actively creates projects for the upliftment of women's equality. Some noteworthy activities in the past include the following:
- magazine projects
- creative endeavors (i.e., spoken-word poetry, illustrations, and rap)
- targeted community campaigns
- interview series
For International Women's Day 2022, the United Nations highly encourages women (and men!) from all walks of life to share their #BreakTheBias creations. The success of previous spoken-word poetry campaigns requires a repeat this year. Just check out Anisa Nandaula's powerful #BreakTheBias message in her enthralling IWD video. Another woman artist, Ms Snaps, also shares her striking #BreakTheBias streetscape to raise awareness on gender equality at the grassroots level.
Providing relevant materials and other resources
Knowledge is power that can help break down the seemingly impenetrable walls of gender discrimination. Thus, part of the efforts of International Women's Day 2022 is to connect anyone from anywhere to powerful materials that can effectively educate and communicate stigma-busting messages on women’s rights. For instance, IWD promotes a discussion starter video featuring Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris, a gender expert who has helped hundreds of women to compete and excel even in male-dominated fields.
By joining IWD and participating in the #BreakTheBias campaign of International Women's Day 2022, we can all work cohesively to elevate the status of women across the globe. Efforts such as these can significantly enhance the focus and increase investments to support equal rights for women and help promote menstrual hygiene awareness.
One company that is hell-bent on empowering women and girls is Ruby Love. Our leak-proof period apparel works to ensure that no girl or woman gets left behind just because she has her period. For instance, our women's Period Underwear is designed with built-in, all-day protection with up to 2.5 tampons' worth of absorbency, so you can still enjoy an active lifestyle any day of the month. Neither should your mense keep you from sleeping well. Our Period Sleepwear collection is angled perfectly to collect your flow immediately for all-night maximum protection. So hop on over to our site and be amazed at how easy it is to feel more comfortable and confident with Ruby Love period apparel.But wait, there's more! Ruby Love is celebrating women in honor of International Women's Day 2022 for the entire month of March. If you know someone who should be celebrated, nominate them to receive a gift from our own Queen and CEO, Crystal Etienne. Don't wait too long—click on the link today to honor that extraordinarily inspiring woman in your life, today!