2019 talk:Diversity/Integrating Wiki-Menstruation to Achieve the SDGs
So, how does this relate to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
SDG 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The challenges surrounding menstrual hygiene have massive implications for girls’ access to education. Lack of products, correct information, and infrastructure from a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) standpoint leads to low attendance and high dropout rates. According to UNESCO, one in 10 girls misses school during menstruation. Educational institutions alongside organizations like Padman Africa have the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure that girls are accommodated in schools, and to collaborate with other key stakeholders such as government agencies to provide the necessary support.
SDG 5: Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Perhaps one of the most important SDGs menstrual hygiene addresses given its cross-cutting nature, is the impact it has on gender equality. As it connects to SDG 4, girls who are more educated, confident, and focused on creating a better life for themselves, families and communities are more likely to move out of the poverty cycle and challenge gender stereotypes and norms. If women and girls are burdened by the inability to manage their menstrual hygiene, they cannot invest in the facets of their lives that will enable them to become empowered; nor will it allow them to stand up to the associated stigma, which feeds into the cycle of gender-based discrimination.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
This outlines the need to “provide sanitation facilities and encourage hygiene at every level”. The WASH community has a vested interest in allocating resources to menstrual hygiene from ensuring access to clean water to providing waste disposal bins for sanitary products in the school bathrooms.
These three SDGs are invariably interlinked by the immense need for proper menstrual hygiene products, information and infrastructure. In today’s day and age, it is embarrassing that this is still an issue that we are discussing and finding ways to address, and makes one wonder what it would be like if men had to deal with menstruation each month. Would sanitary pads and tampons be free?