Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Why the 28th of May?
The average duration of a menstrual cycle is 28 days. On average, women and girls menstruate for 5 days per month. Hence 28-5, or the 28th of May.
Is there really a need for a Menstrual Hygiene (MH) Day?
Yes. Menstruation and menstrual hygiene continue to be met with silence and neglect all around the world. At this stage, this issue really needs the spotlight of a dedicated day to break the silence and accelerate action.
Who came up with the idea for MH Day and how did it start?
WASH United came up with the idea for a global day of action for MHM in May 2013. A campaign in India in late 2012 convinced us of the urgent need for concerted advocacy on MHM. In May 2013, we carried out a 28-day campaign on social media to test the waters and see if other organisations were interested in this issue, too. The extremely positive feedback from organisations around the world prompted the idea to create a global day of action that would allow actors working on MHM around the world to bundle their voices.
Who is behind Menstrual Hygiene Day?
MH Day was initiated by the German non-profit WASH United in 2013. WASH United is the overall global coordinator of MH Day and acts as its international secretariat. WASH United’s role includes:
- coordination of the MH Day partner network comprising of >500 social impact organizations,
- overall strategy and direction for MH Day,
- creation and dissemination of content for the annual MH Day campaign and ongoing campaigning,
- external communication (MH Day website, social media and newsletters) and representation of MH Day (at conferences and other sector events),
- strategic partnerships (including with the media) and fundraising,
- monitoring and reporting.
Can I celebrate MH Day even if my organisation is not a MH Day partner?
Yes, anyone can celebrate MH Day, anywhere! Except for for-profits, anyone can use MH Day materials for free. Becoming a MH Day partner is for free, too. Just send an email with your logo, your wish to become a partner and relevant contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens on and around MH Day on May 28th?
Hundreds of events and activities are organized by MH Day partners and other organisations around the world, ranging from educational sessions in schools, community rallies and concerts to raise awareness, advocacy events with governments to increase the political priority of the issue, product donations and many more.
What happens beyond May 28th?
Post MH Day 2018, MH Day will move towards ongoing advocacy all year round. While MH Day will continue to be the annual “peak” event, we will complement it with ongoing communications and several smaller campaigns throughout the year to achieve increased attention for menstrual hygiene all year round.
Why do you use the term menstrual hygiene and not menstrual health?
The term Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) focuses on what women and girls need to manage their periods safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame. MHM has been defined by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP).
Menstrual health is often understood as a broader term that also includes wider menstruation-related health issues, such as endometriosis or peri-menopause. However, at present there is no broadly accepted definition of menstrual health.
Menstrual Hygiene Day focuses on the narrower issue of menstrual hygiene. If partners want to use the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day to advocate for menstrual equity, for wider menstrual health issues or against period poverty, that is completely fine. What we expect from everyone, though, is to respect the name of the day, which is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Not doing so is confusing, especially for the media and other multipliers, and hence undermines our joint overall efforts to turn menstruation into a normal fact of life.
Why do you only refer to women and girls and not to people who menstruate or menstruators?
We completely recognise and empathise with the challenges faced by people who don’t identify as women but still menstruate, and we applaud the organisations and activists focusing on this issue.
The focus of Menstrual Hygiene Day is on maximising progress for the vast majority of the people who menstruate, which are women and girls. In many countries, we are just now making the first baby steps towards normalising the menstruation of women and girls. In our view, we haven’t made nearly enough progress for MH Day as a global initiative to take on the potentially even bigger taboo of other people who menstruate.
MH Day partners are, of course, free to use other language and advocate for everyone who menstruates.
How is MH Day funded? Does MH Day need additional financial support?
MH Day receives financial support from government agencies, foundations, corporate partners and individual donors. Funding for menstrual hygiene advocacy is still very limited, and we are always looking for additional support to enable us to sustain and further increase the impact of MH Day.
Office phone: +49-30-55576806-1
Mail address: WASH United gGmbH, Fuerbringerstrasse 7, 10961 Berlin, Germany