About Menstrual Hygiene Day
Learn who is behind Menstrual Hygiene Day and how you can be a part of the movement.
Are you a journalist?
The Media Resources section has key information for journalists, including the 5 most important things to know about MH Day 2023 and much more. In addition, our experts are available for quotes, comments and interviews and we can put you in touch with our partners, if you need in-depth regional information.
2022 Impact Report
Packed full of data, campaign examples and insights
Collectively, we reached an incredible 687 million people through Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022! Together, our movement broke all previous MH Day records pushing back societal taboos and stigma and increasing the political relevance of the issue like never before! Find out how our movement achieved all of this and much more by reading the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 Impact Report.
About MH Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global advocacy platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual health and hygiene (MHH). More specifically, MH Day:
- breaks the silence, raises awareness and changes negative social norms around MHH, and
- engages decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyse action for MHH, at global, national and local levels.
MH Day has grown tremendously since it was first celebrated in 2014. Read our Impact Report to learn more about the results and how MH Day generates impact for MHM.
Menstrual Hygiene Day initiator and international secretariat
Menstrual Hygiene 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 >910 social impact organisations,
- 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,
- and monitoring and reporting.
MH Day activities in each country are coordinated by local MH Day partners.
By 2030, it is possible to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate. This means a world menstruation can be managed safely, hygienically, with confidence, and without shame:
- everyone can access and afford the menstrual product of their choice
- period stigma is a thing of the past
- everyone has basic information about menstruation
- everyone can access period-friendly water, sanitation and hygiene facilities everywhere
However, we’re at a crossroads. To scale our collective action to end period poverty and stigma by 2030, we need significantly more investment in menstrual health and hygiene now.
Learn more about our vision and download our infographic.
All you need to know about MH Day
Resources for media
Berlin, May 25, 2023. From Berlin to Mumbai and Kampala to Mexico City, poor menstrual health and hygiene is a global problem. Around the world, millions of women and girls* are excluded, stigmatised and shamed because of their periods. Myths and taboos about periods harm all of us, whether we menstruate or not.
This Sunday, 28 May, is Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), the annual global day of awareness and action to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate by 2030. Here are five things you need to know about why in 2023, this day is more important than ever.
1 It’s a global problem.
500 million women and girls worldwide don’t have what they need to manage their periods safely, hygienically and without shame¹. This is due to a combination of lack of access to period products, lack of education about menstruation and inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure. The persisting taboos and stigma around menstruation are the root cause that underpins all these issues. If we can’t talk openly about periods, we can’t effectively address these challenges.
2 Period stigma has far-reaching effects, for all of us.
Menstruation-related challenges have a severe negative impact on the health, educational and income-earning opportunities, and the overall social status of women and girls. In turn, this affects families, communities and entire countries. Management consulting firm Kearney estimates the economic damage resulting from women and girls around the world missing out on education and job opportunities amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars each year².
3 MH Day partners take a multifaceted approach.
The MH Day movement consists of over 970 partners, all tackling different aspects of the problem. Focus areas include:
- providing access to good quality menstrual products,
- educating school children about menstruation,
- campaigns to change negative social norms,
- policy advocacy, including the removal or reduction of taxes on period products,
- ensuring that marginalised groups, such as people with disabilities and refugees, have what they need for good MHH,
- and much more.
4 Change is happening.
Collectively, we’re making significant progress. The collective reach of the Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign has grown from reaching just over 20 million people in 2014 to close to 700 million people in 2022. And in the same period, media coverage of MH Day has increased 165-fold.
There is ongoing change at the policy level. In April 2023, the Indian Supreme Court asked the federal government to create a national policy for managing menstrual hygiene for girls in schools³. Period products are now available for free in schools in countries such as New Zealand4 and Zambia and in several US states5 and provinces in Canada. Also in Canada, period products will be free for all employees in federally regulated workplaces by the end of 20236. In February 2023, Spain approved a bill enabling workers to take sick leave if they experience severe menstrual pain7. While the Spanish example is the first in Europe, Japan, Indonesia and several other Asian countries have had similar policies in place for some time8. In Zimbabwe, menstrual hygiene management education will soon become a part of school curricula. In France, women under 25 years old will be eligible to get the cost of period products reimbursed from 2024 onwards9.
5 More investment is needed. Urgently.
Due to the work of MH Day partners, societal awareness of the challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene has grown dramatically. And it has become a much higher political priority in many countries across the globe. We already have the technical solutions, and there are hundreds of committed organisations willing to step up their efforts. We are convinced that it is possible to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate by 2030. However, without a significant increase in funding, the movement will fall short of its goal. And, as a result, millions of women and girls worldwide will be kept from achieving their full potential.
Thorsten Kiefer, CEO of WASH United, said:
“Poor menstrual health and hygiene is a critical barrier towards gender equality. We now know that societies with higher levels of gender equality are safer, more peaceful and more prosperous. In short: ending period poverty and stigma not only benefits women and girls, it’s in everyone’s best interest. The good news is that solving the menstruation-related challenges 500 million women and girls face every month is entirely possible. To make it happen, we urgently need governments, philanthropists and the private sector to allocate the resources needed to enable action at scale.”
About WASH United
Founded in 2011, WASH United is a Berlin-based non-profit working to create a world where all people benefit from safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), with a core focus on menstrual hygiene.
Women and girls: Not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman and that not all women menstruate.
Thorsten Kiefer is the CEO and co-founder of WASH United. A lawyer by training, Thorsten has more than 10 years of experience working on menstrual health and hygiene-related issues. With Ina Jurga, International Coordinator MH Day, Thorsten came up with the initial idea for Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Thorsten talks about:
- How menstrual health and hygiene is critical for advancing gender equality
- The role of men in making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2023
- Menstrual Hygiene Day, including its origin, strategy, collective impact and how the movement and the campaign has evolved over time
Ina Jurga is the International Coordinator of Menstrual Hygiene Day and thematic lead for menstrual health and hygiene at WASH United. With 20 years of experience in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, coordinates a global network of close to 1,000 MH Day partner organisations.
Ina talks about:
- The global challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene and progress since 2010, both globally and regionally
- The origin and impact of MH Day
- Taxes on menstrual products, including campaigns to end taxes, policy change and its effectiveness
Ina Jurga, International Coordinator of Menstrual Hygiene Day
Postal address: WASH United gGmbH, Fuerbringerstrasse 7, 10961 Berlin, Germany
If you have country-specific requests, we would be happy to connect you with relevant Menstrual Hygiene Day partners.