Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023

#MHDay2023: together, we did it again!

In 2023, the Menstrual Hygiene Day movement faced the challenges of 28 May falling on a Sunday – the worst day for campaigning. But even that couldn’t stop us!

All in all, MH Day 2023 generated 17,828 pieces of media coverage (that is a new record!) and 222,000 contributions on social media. Collectively, we reached more than 705 million people all over the world. That, too, is a new record!

Here are a few key take-aways:

Africa is leading the way on social media

This year, more than 50% of social media contributions came from Sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya overtook India and the US to become the country with the most social media contributions globally! WOW! Young people across the global South are using the occasion of MH Day to take a stand for the issue on social media!

Media continues to be a HUGE ally

When we celebrated the first MH Day in 2014, we celebrated 89 pieces of media coverage. Since then, media coverage has exploded, reaching 17,828 this year! That’s 200 times where we were just nine years ago!

But there’s still potential to do better next year when we celebrate MH Day’s 10th anniversary!

The MH Day movement is growing stronger and stronger

The massive collective impact of MH Day is the result of organisations and individuals driving awareness and action around MH Day, online and on the ground.

The MH Day movement keeps growing stronger and stronger and just crossed 1,000 official partner organisations!

Political and financial commitment is still lacking behind

Political support for MHH has increased over the past few years, but not enough. To mobilise urgently neeeded financial resources for MHH, we need to further increase the political relevance of the issue by getting more high/top-level political decision-makers engaged.

2023 MH Day Action Cycle:

Organisations submitted 139 programme and project commitments to the 2023 round of the MH Action Cycle. This substantial increase vis-a-vis 2022 was particularly driven by strong participation from African partners. Education is the thematic area in which most of the commitments were made.

MH Day 2023 was another big step for our movement to create a world without period poverty and stigma and we can’t wait for next year when MH Day will have its 10th anniversaryl!

Greetings from the MH Day Secretariat, WASH United
#WeAreCommitted

The numbers at a glance

Total campaign reach

+ 2.6% (compared to 2021)
x 32 since 2014

Together, we have reached more than 705,000,000 people all over the world, raising awareness and driving conversations about menstruation like never before. Millions more people were reached via traditional media (TV, radio, print) and hundreds of Menstrual Hygiene Day events.

Media coverage

+ 21.5% (compared to 2021)
x 200.3 since 2014

This year, we picked up 17,828 pieces of media coverage – which constitutes a new record! Popular topics: NGOs calling for more action, thought leaders sharing opinion pieces, extraordinary events, new data and concrete action such as commitments to provide free access to products and product donations.
Note: since 2023, our monitoring tools enable us to also partially track TV and radio broadcasting. Before 2023, we were only able to track social media and online news media.

Social media contributions

– 1.3% (compared to 2021)
x 27.8 since 2014

Our monitoring tools tracked more than 222,000 contributions on social media. This is fantastic given that 28 May fell on a Sunday, which is the worst day for social media.

Sub-Saharan Africa stood out by a margin with more than 50% of global contributions – amazing! Kenya overtook India and the US to claim the top spot of most active country on social media.

Note: we can only partially track contributions on Facebook and Instagram and we cannot track Instagram stories. Hence, we estimate that the actual number of social media contributions is far higher.

MH Day partner organisations

+ 10.2% (compared to 2021)
x 6.5 since 2014

Menstrual Hygiene Day has 1,003 official partner organisations, ranging from UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank to hundreds of small grassroots NGOs. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the most partners. India is country with the highest number of partners.

The Menstrual Hygiene Day effect

Menstrual Hygiene Day is the biggest spotlight on menstrual health and hygiene, both at the global level and in most countries, and thus a key opportunity for organisations working in MHH to get visibility for their work. This graph shows the global conversation on social media and online news media between September 2022 and September 2023.

What happened in 2022

Fuelled by the power of our movement, Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 broke all records. Collectively, we reached more than 687 million people all over the world, pushing back societal taboos and stigma and increasing the political relevance of the issue like never before!

In 2022, we introduced the Menstrual Hygiene Day Action Cycle, a new mechanism to catalyse action and funding by increasing transparency and accountability. More than 90 organisations participated in the first Action Cycle making powerful commitments to action. However, significant financial commitments to menstrual health and hygiene-related challenges are still lacking. If we are to succeed in creating a world where no one is held back simply because they menstruate by 2030, then this urgently needs to change. Therefore, unlocking funding for menstrual health and hygiene will be a key priority for 2023 and beyond.

This year, hundreds of NGOs, decision-makers, brands and thousands of advocates all over the world used the Menstruation Bracelet for their campaigning and outreach work. The bracelet was used particularly effectively to engage political decision makers, in employee engagement campaigns and in brand/influencer relationships. Beyond that, it’s potential for engaging B2C target groups is becoming increasingly evident, with more and more ordinary people using it. The bracelet is well on its way to becoming the global symbol for menstruation, widely used for advocacy and to push back stigma. Not only around 28 May, but all year round.

The media and journalists continued to be key allies for our cause. During this year’s campaign period, we saw over 14,670 articles in online news media. In addition, there were countless articles and programming in print media, TV and radio. Through their huge reach and mass audiences, the media has a crucial role to play in addressing taboos and stigma, amplifying success stories and highlighting advocacy initiatives that demand more action and investment from governments and other relevant actors.

The success of Menstrual Hygiene Day is based on the power of our movement of 910 official partners including hundreds of grassroots NGOs such as Days for Girls and WAGGGS, UN agencies and intergovernmental organisations such as UNICEF or the World Bank and corporate supporters such as Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. In addition, many more organisations, decision-makers and other interested parties across the globe contribute to this success by all rowing in the same direction. Together #WeAreCommitted to creating a world where periods are a normal fact of life.

The Menstrual Hygiene Day International Secretariat

Highlights from 2022

Social media highlights

Decision makers

Decision makers from across the spectrum took to social media around MH Day 2022. Key decision makers like Clar Weah, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia, and Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, used the occasion to raise awareness, highlight progress or call for more action.

Social media highlights

Brands

Corporate supporters and their brands like always, whisper, kotex or Thabsie harnessed the power of Menstrual Hygiene Day to reach out to their audiences. They highlighted the importance of good menstrual health and hygiene for all and shared how they address menstruation related challenges with their brand initiatives.

Social media highlights

Influencers and celebrities

Celebrities and influencers including actors, artists, models, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and media personalities such as Jameela Jamal, Manushi Chhillar, Laetitia Ky, Flaviana Matata and Israel Laryea made their voices heard and engaged their followers on the issue of menstruation around Menstrual Hygiene Day!

Social media highlights

Menstruation Bracelet

The Menstruation Bracelet was used widely by NGOs, decision-makers, brands, campaigners, activists and increasingly by ordinary people all over the world. The bracelet was used in a wide range of ways, including by companies to engage their staff, by influencers to start conversations with followers on social media, and by NGOs to engage with political decision makers. Going forward, let’s use the Menstruation Bracelet as widely as possible so that it becomes a truly universal symbol for menstruation!

Media highlights

Reports and data

Journalists are often incredibly receptive to new data and reports. Therefore, many MH Day partner organisations used the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day to publish new reports and or opinion pieces highlighting such new data. One example is a new report about the state of menstruation in Germany co-published by WASH United and Plan International Germany, which generated significant coverage in leading German media.

Media highlights

TV and radio

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 was widely featured on TV and radio, particularly in the Global South. Coverage included primetime formats on channels with mass audiences, thus bringing our movement’s stigma-busting messaging to the wider general public.

Media highlights

NGO partners, brands and governments

NGO partners, brands and governments utilised Menstrual Hygiene Day to achieve greater visibility for their work by generating significant media coverage through a range of means. Some of the most impactful tactics employed creativity such as such as the Period Crunch campaign or a menstruation-themed wall painting by the granddaughter of a Bollywood megastar, Amitabh Bachchan. In other cases, NGOs called for more action, thought leaders shared opinion pieces and extraordinary events were used to attract media attention. Furthermore, concrete action and commitments, such as commitments to provide free access to products and product donations, tended to reliably achieve media coverage.

Highlights

Events

From fashion shows to donation drives and much more, in-person and digital events are a popular format to not only celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day but also to raise awareness and break down stigma and taboos.