At Menstrual Health Hub, we’re all about cross-sector collaboration for maximising collective impact. We know we need a common language to do this, but does that language reduce or increase legitimacy of our work?

Our co-founder and Executive Director Danielle Keiser explains why moving from ‘menstrual hygiene’ to ‘menstrual health’ makes the sector stronger and more inclusive.

From hygiene to health: The fear of losing legitimacy

Common goals, cross-sector communication and collaboration are key to a strengthened and holistic understanding of how progress can be brought about in all aspects of menstrual health, including, but not limited to those related to WASH and disposal.

Some stakeholders have expressed concern that if we transition from menstrual hygiene to menstrual health, we might lose the legitimacy that the WASH sector drove towards the topic of menstruation generally, particularly with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  While ‘menstrual hygiene’ is not explicitly mentioned, both target 6.2 (access to sanitation and hygiene for all with special attention to the needs of women and girls) and target 4a (building and upgrading education facilities that are gender sensitive), provide clear insinuations that menstruation matters.

We strongly believe that a more inclusive move towards ‘menstrual health’ will help strengthen existing efforts pushed by the WASH sector, bring different segments of the sector closer together regardless of WASH leadership.

Under the banner of menstrual health 

Whether it is a UNICEF-led school sanitation and hygiene programme in Nigeria, a push to remove the tax on menstrual products in Texas, a new-age remedy for menstrual cramps, or in the marketing language of a new menstrual tracker app in India, we must all realize that we are working towards the same goal: to improve menstrual health.

Our aim as specialists working on this topic to is to help ease the physical, psychological and social experiences of menstruation in the very best ways that we can. However we get there will always differ depending on policy, availability, culture and preference.

Through the development of the Menstrual Health Hub, we look forward to bringing this nascent sector closer together. We look forward to sharing not only the latest research and educational tools, but to more deeply coordinate and connect the work happening around menstruation.

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