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.

 

Note:
This is an average and does not represent the menstrual experience of an individual. For example, cycle length and days of menstruation are likely to decrease with age.
Newer “big” data gathered specifically from period tracking apps suggestes the average cycle to be longer with 29 days (Faust, et al., 2019; Bull, J. R, et all, 2019). But there are limitations to the data as the study population is derived solely from users of tracking apps who may not be representative of the wider population, and hence we keep 28 for now.

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 info@menstrualhygieneday.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? Do I have to use the term menstrual hygiene or can we use other terminology instead?
The term Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) focuses on what women and girls need to manage their periods safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame. In 2012, menstrual hygiene management (MHM) was defined by the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene as
“Women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials. They understand the basic facts linked to the menstrual cycle and how to manage it with dignity and without discomfort or fear.”

Menstrual Health and Hygiene encompasses both MHM and the broader systemic factors that link menstruation with health, well-being, gender equality, education, equity, empowerment, and rights. These systematic factors have been summarised by UNESCO as accurate and timely knowledge, available, safe, and affordable materials, informed and comfortable professionals, referral and access to health services, sanitation and washing facilities, positive social norms, safe and hygienic disposal and advocacy and policy.

Since April 2021, there is an official definition for menstrual health. Menstrual Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.

We are using the term Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) as it is the most inclusive.

 

The official name of the day is Menstrual Hygiene Day. When you refer to the day itself, please make sure to stick to that official name. Not doing so is confusing, especially for the media and other multipliers, and hence can undermine our overall collective efforts.

Beyond the name of the day itself, you know best what terminology works for the specific issue and context you work in. So whether you want to use menstrual hygiene, menstrual health & hygiene, menstrual health, menstrual equity or whatever other term is completely up to you.

 

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.

 

 

Contact
Email: info@menstrualhygieneday.org
Office phone: +49-30-55576806-1
Mail address: WASH United gGmbH, Fuerbringerstrasse 7, 10961 Berlin, Germany

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