Kyiv, 28 May 2019 - On Menstrual Hygiene Day, UNICEF announced the launch of an educational campaign aimed at teaching adolescents the basics of menstrual hygiene and promoting understanding and healthy attitudes about this topic. Popular singer Michelle Andrade is the face of the campaign and is acting as a Friend of UNICEF for its implementation.
“Menstruation should not prevent girls from going to school, exercising their rights and fulfilling their potential. Without the correct information, girls often do not know how to maintain hygiene and behave during their periods in a way that is safe for their health, and they can be teased and bullied by their peers. However, boys also lack knowledge about menstruation. We are launching the Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign to change this. And we are happy that the Day is being supported by young opinion leaders for boys and girls in Ukraine,” says Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.
According to a survey by U-report – a research project of UNICEF – almost every second girl does not know what she can and cannot do during menstruation. One in two girls have been ridiculed or teased because of their periods and 15 per cent were mocked for blood stains on their clothes. This is because the topic is stigmatized and not discussed openly. For instance, less than a third of boys say that they were told details about menstruations in girls. At the same time, 91 per cent girls and 74 per cent of boys think that they should receive more information about menstruation.
“I believe that all girls remember those feelings from the time they were at school – worrying that somebody would guess or notice that you are having your period, especially in the changing room or when you get up from a chair after a class. But it’s just menstruation – all girls and women on the planet do it, it is natural and gives us an opportunity to give life. I want Ukrainian girls to have no doubt that it is part of their nature, feel confident and know how to take care of their health,” commented Michelle Andrade.
Lack of information and awareness about menstruation is dangerous for girls. Many of them risk their health and future because of misinformation and harmful practices. The goal of the Menstrual Hygiene Day is to disseminate knowledge and smart attitudes about menstrual hygiene and this natural aspect of women’s health. This year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day all over the world has the slogan “It’s time for action!” and it is dedicated to raising awareness and providing information to girls and boys to enable better understanding of menstruation and girls’ health.
“On average, girls and women spend 3,000 days of their lives, and about half of the schools in developing countries lack adequate toilets for students and teachers to manage their periods [i]. Also, girls often do not have access to the right sort of materials to manage their periods, which makes them use cloth or other materials to manage their periods that may lead to infection,” Lotta Sylwander says.
UNICEF works in over 50 countries to improve access to the right facilities, materials and information to improve menstrual hygiene. This includes: providing toilets, supplies, developing research, and providing Dignity Kits to girls and women in humanitarian emergencies.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.