#IWD2017 Podcast from WSSCC’s hygiene partner SCA: Hygiene matters to everyone

Date: 9th March 2017

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Encouraging open discussion on menstrual and feminine hygiene issues and the right to sanitation and hygiene for women and girls.

To mark International Women’s Day 2017, Swedish hygiene and forest products company SCA has released a podcast featuring Archana Patkar, WSSCC’s menstrual hygiene management expert and Programme Manager, and Kersti Strandqvist, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at SCA.

WSSCC has partnered with SCA to raise awareness on menstruation and personal hygiene issues since 2014.

The podcast conversation acknowledges that many women lack access to basic hygiene products and facilities, and that cultural taboos around menstruation are still strongly in place.

WSSCC Programme Manager Archana Patkar participating in an MHM training in Senegal. Credit: WSSCC/Javier Acebal

The discussion touched upon WSSCC’s mission to enable women and girls living in vulnerable situations to practice their right to sanitation and hygiene across their life course with dignity and safety.  Archana Patkar pointed out that while WSSCC’s goal is in line with Sustainable Development Goal target 6.2 relating to sanitation and hygiene, its work also impacts goals on women’s empowerment, health, education, reduction in inequalities and much more.

“Hygiene is a daily human need, whether women have to attend to this in developed or developing countries.  WSSCC likes to use this powerful entry point to really address women’s voice and agency and help them fulfil their potential through full mobility, work and participation,” she said.

Patkar considers that the biggest challenge that women of all ages face in developing countries is the silence, the taboos and shame around sanitation and hygiene, often due to poor information, misinformation and misconceptions.

Strandqvist pointed towards the evidence that shows that when these issues are addressed, women take better part in society and are more productive at work.

“Talk about menstruation and incontinence constantly to raise awareness and support gender equality,” she stressed.

Listen to the full podcast here:

WSSCC and SCA:

In 2014, WSSCC and SCA started working together to break the silence on menstrual hygiene management.

“Partnerships are one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and by pairing WSSCC’s technical expertise on sanitation and hygiene issues in developing countries with SCA’s global brands, knowledge and commitment to sustainability, education and innovation, we will increase awareness around  taboos surrounding personal hygiene and make a meaningful difference,” says Magnus Groth, President and CEO of SCA.

SCA and WSSCC encourage a global conversation around hygiene issues and opportunities across organizations, sectors and countries, sharing successes and opening the dialogue on what is often an unspoken topic: personal hygiene. The partnership has extended to include hygiene across the life course.

In 2016, the partners released the co-created Hygiene Matters Report, based on a survey in 12 countries exploring the economic perspective on the value of hygiene, the social perspective focused on taboos and stereotypes around hygiene, and the role hygiene will play in social and economic development in emerging and developed markets in the future.

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