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International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on 8 March in
many countries around the world as an occasion to globally recognize women’s
achievements, as well as for observing and highlighting gender inequalities and
issues that still persist.
WSSCC has released this statement in support of this Day, inaugurated by the United Nations in 1975. In line with the UN 2012 theme, “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty” - this occasion serves as a stark reminder about the efforts and political will still needed to address basic female sanitation and hygiene issues, particularly in regard to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in the developing world.
Post puberty, girls and women menstruate on an average 3,000 days over a lifetime. However, few are able to manage this monthly biological occurrence without shame and pain. Experiences from women and girls around the globe reveal the same pattern of shame and taboos, absence from work and school, suffering in silence due to lack of facilities, often leaving a deep imprint on young minds and reinforcing social stigma.
Whilst global efforts on sanitation and hygiene are ongoing, it is often women, together with other vulnerable groups within communities who continue to be excluded, marginalized or simply forgotten.
In recognition of this, WSSCC continues to be part of a strong movement that demands change for women, especially girls in sanitation and hygiene. It works to improve the lives and life chances for women who do not have access to these facilities, who cannot talk about their experiences; or are not empowered to contribute towards a solution.
To mark International Women’s Day 2012 – let’s commit to bringing menstruation out of the closet! Let’s talk about it with pride and with no shame. Let’s address the practical aspects of this issue, as part and parcel of all sanitation and hygiene work – ensuring that all sanitation and hygiene facilities also satisfy the needs of menstruating women and girls. Take action to honor the dignity of the girl child and women globally today.