By: Rachel Hyman
Throw your tampons like confetti because today is Menstrual Hygiene Day! While every day is Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) at I Support the Girls, every year on May 28th advocates, nonprofits, governments, news outlets and individuals will come together to promote menstrual hygiene awareness and advocacy around the world. This may just be the best day of the year.
How did the fabulous day of education and action begin anyways?
MHD was founded in 2013 by German nonprofit WASH United as an international day of awareness and advocacy surrounding menstrual hygiene. All over the world, poor menstrual hygiene directly harms the education, health and overall social status of women and girls. Thus, WASH United sought to create a global movement to ensure “no woman or girl is limited by something as natural and normal as her period.” The very first Menstrual Hygiene Day was scheduled for May 28, 2014, a date that symbolizes both the average length women and girls menstruate (5 days) and the average length of the menstrual cycle (28 days) and and the world was forever a little bit better.
Six years later and still going strong…
Since its creation, MHD has become an overwhelming force for change. In 2019, MHD reached 317,000,000 people with 724 events and 114,00 social media posts across 74 countries. Moreover, the movement is making an excited shift towards greater action. Last year, the UK’s Minister for Women & Equalities Penny Mordaunt introduced a new task force to end period poverty in the UK by 2030, and the Tanzanian Minister of Health Ummy Mwalimu urged for action to end period stigmas. Further, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Equity for All Act and resolution H.Res.406 calling for congress’ support of MHD’s mission. And the inspiring progress shows no sign of slowing down for this year’s big day.
So how can we recognize this important and influential day?
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year Menstrual Hygiene Day will take place virtually. Have no fear, there is still so much you can do to show your support. Here’s a quick list of some of the things we at I Support the Girls will be doing with our friends and families to celebrate at home…
1. Tune in to a virtual event!
I Support the Girls founder Dana will be featured as a special guest on two exciting MHD events. Dana will be joining Lola for an Instagram Live Interview at 12:00 pm EST where they will be discussing menstrual equity and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on I Support the Girls’ work.
Later in the day, she will be a speaker in the virtual panel “Period Panty Party” hosted by #HappyPeriod and Modibodi at 7:00pm EST. This exciting, lighthearted event will focus on breaking down the period stigma and action and advocacy surrounding menstrual inequality.
There will, also, be a number of other exciting virtual events happening throughout the day. From an online art exhibit celebrating art and activism to a storytelling event of women’s first periods, there are hundreds of exciting, informative and engaging events happening all day.
2. Shop with purpose.
This year I Support the Girls is excited to partner with Rael to launch a buy one, give one campaign. Starting on Menstrual Hygiene Day, Rael will donate one period product to ISTG for every one purchased. To make the deal even sweeter, all period products will be 10% with code “DOGOOD” at checkout on MHD. So treat yourself to products that are great for both you and menstruators in need!
3. Make a period bracelet!
This year the period bracelet is the official symbol of MHD and it is as cute as it is significant. These bracelets consist of 28 beads, 5 red beads and 23 white beads, as they represent the average length of menstruation and the menstrual cycle.
4. Post to social media.
5. Have a conversation with your friends and family about menstrual hygiene and the period taboo.
The best way to overcome stigma is to shine a light on the matter and have productive, meaningful conversations. Begin with those closest to you and start a conversation. It may be uncomfortable at first, but we promise it’s worth it.
6. Educate yourself.
Watch a mini documentary or TedTalk, listen to a podcast or read a book. The best place to start for aspiring advocates is creating a sturdy foundation of knowledge on the issue, and there are so many amazing and free to access sources across the internet on menstrual equity.
7. Call your representatives and tell them why menstrual hygiene matters to you.
From local leaders to your representatives in Congress, let your policymakers know that this is an issue that matters and why. Change comes from the ground up and you have the power to help catalyze action in your community and state.
8. If you’re a menstruator yourself, show your body some love!
Treat yourself and your body to some much needed TLC by doing whatever makes you feel best in your skin. Your body is amazing and works so hard for you every month. Periods are a beautiful thing worth celebrating!
So, from the bottom of our hearts, happy Menstrual Hygiene Day! Here’s to another year of supporting women, girls and all people who menstruate.
MHDay, 2020, menstrualhygieneday.org/