MENSTRUAL

HYGIENE
COALITION

Sustainable Solutions to End Period Poverty Worldwide

Guatemalan Market

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Mission Statement

All persons ought to have the means to hygienically and comfortably manage their menstruation.

The Menstrual Hygiene Coalition's objective is to facilitate global, sustainable menstrual hygiene by developing and distributing free 'cookbooks' for making menstrual pads.

Menstrual hygiene products should be as mundane and accessible as bread. Both commodities are necessities of human life, however much of the world suffers greatly from a lack of access to menstrual hygiene. Due to the systematic oppression of menstruators worldwide, the "from scratch" methods for making menstrual pads are generally missing from human knowledge and culture.

 

Nearly all menstrual hygiene today is dependent upon high-tech products which require many forms of industrial intervention. Production handbooks for menstrual hygiene products do not exist outside of proprietary invention and are generally not accessible. The Menstrual Health Coalition seeks to close this information and technology gap by developing "common sense" methods for making menstrual pads using natural resources.

 

Just as humans have developed the art and science of baking bread - a commodity which has very much enabled human progress - menstrual hygiene products can and will be accessible to all people.  

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Pelvic X-Ray

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What is Period Poverty?

What is generally described as a lack of access, people worldwide are unable to access or afford the means to safely manage their menstrual health. Here are a few statistics:

  • Of low income people surveyed in St. Louis Missouri 64% reported experiencing period poverty [1]​

  • Out of 386 adolescent girls surveyed in Northern Ghana, 81% reported missing school due to their period [2]

  • Of the 355 million menstruating people in India, only 12% have access to proper menstrual hygiene [3]

  • 23 million Indian youth drop out of school every year due to the inability to properly manage menstruation [4]

  • Of India’s menstruators, 62% are at risk of developing health complications (~219 million people) due to lack of hygienic resources [3]

Access to menstrual hygiene is a fundamental step in global intersectional liberation. Without the ability to properly manage one's own bodily health, menstruators worldwide suffer from high risks of infection, lose access to education and economic opportunities. 

Education on menstruation and hygiene is only good if people have a sustainable supply of products which facilitate hygiene considering the limitations of any person's immediate resources. 

*reference library and glossary coming soon

[1] Kuhlmann, Anne Sebert, et al. “Unmet Menstrual Hygiene Needs Among Low-Income Women.” OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY, vol. 133, no. 2, Feb. 2019, doi:ISSN: 0029-7844/19.

[2] Boakye-Yiadom, Akwasi, et al. “Assessing the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Junior High Schools Adolescent Females in the Yendi Municipality in the Northern Region of Ghana.” European Scientific Journal ESJ, vol. 14, no. 36, 2018, doi:10.19044/esj.2018.v14n36p467.

[3] Dutta, Saptarshi, et al. “23 Million Women Drop Out Of School Every Year When They Start Menstruating In India: Women's Day.” NDTV, 28 May 2018, swachhindia.ndtv.com/23-million-women-drop-out-of-school-every-year-when-they-start-menstruating-in-india-17838/.

[4] Patkar, Archana. “Spot On! Improving Menstrual Health and Hygiene in India.” Dasra, Mar. 2015, https://www.dasra.org/resource/improving-menstrual-health-and-hygiene.

Research

The distribution of cookbooks doesn't put bakeries out of business, so why does menstrual pad design remain proprietary, and so high tech? 

The overwhelming majority of menstrual hygiene science is held hostage to the notion that period poverty can only be resolved by newer and more exotic technological innovations. Considering that the basic, foundational science specific to menstrual hygiene commodities is not publicly accessible, the current scientific field can be better attributed to a tech bubble than a global movement for human health and equality. 

While this research requires a strong scientific foundation, the practice of making menstrual hygiene products should be as feasible for people worldwide as making bread. Nearly every human civilization has been capable of self-sufficiently milling grain regardless of technology or industry. It should then be feasible to develop low-tech processes to produce natural fibers from rough materials.

 

Despite their differences, chapati and sourdough both fulfill the basic functions of bread: being tasty, nutritious, and providing a cleaner way to eat messy foods. Similarly, the functional elements of a menstrual pad can be fulfilled using a variety of materials, designs and processes. An eventual reader should be able to find a process that accommodates their level of access to water, biomass and other resources.


In order eventually produce "common sense" methods for making biodegradable menstrual pads the Menstrual Hygiene Coalition must grow into a multidisciplinary research center.

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You can also become a member of the Menstrual Hygiene Coalition in order to directly join this growing international and multidisciplinary community. 

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