By Kaitlyn West
Head of Public Health, COLUMBIA pure.
Menstrual health topics are quicky becoming important topics on both local and international agendas within the last decade.
The focus on menstrual health also highlights the focus on women’s health, which is a key indicator and a global health target. Within the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, SDG 3 targets “Ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, encompassing women’s health and specifically addresses reproductive health care services.
While menstruation is not specifically addressed, access to menstruation care is seen as a reproductive health service.
From the implementation of free period products in some countries to the expansion of paid leave for menstruation in other countries, the need for menstrual health support is clear. Other countries, such as Malta, are now following suit and considering implementing their own menstrual leave policies. However, some countries are still falling behind when it comes to understanding and supporting women during menstruation.
The Supreme Court of India recently dismissed a proposal for menstrual leave on the basis of policy, however some companies in India have already adopted menstrual leave policies as well.
So how do menstrual health policies affect women’s health? According to the World Bank, menstrual health policies can expand accessibility to not only education, but also access to hygiene products to ensure safe practices and, hence, healthier women.
Removing stigma is another key positive outcome of menstruation policies. The WHO is actively working to remove stigma by ensuring that menstrual health is recognized as a human and health rights issue and not just a hygiene issue.
On this International Women’s Day COLUMBIA pure would like to resonate the WHO’s statement on menstrual health and rights and share the international efforts to ensure human rights and gender equity.