Looking back on a bloody important year

Article: 24.05.22, Amsterdam

A blog by Brechje Oonk, Public Affairs Officer at Simavi for Menstrual Hygiene Day.

#WeAreCommited is the theme if this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day. As Simavi, this is a theme we take to heart. Every day, 800 million people menstruate, but unfortunately 500 million of them do not have their needs met during their period. They experience stigma, lack the money to pay for products, or don’t have access to adequate facilities.

Looking back, we’ve made big impact, May 28th 2021 we launched our Bloody Important Message. Through a petition and on a tour through the Netherlands with our Tamponnerie we engaged thousands of people. We collected over 14.000 signatures in support of putting Menstrual Health and period poverty worldwide on the political agenda.

We handed those over to members of parliament and inspired a resolution that was passed in December. The resolution asked the Minster of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to put Menstrual Health on the agenda. And to report on the activities.

MP's Jan Klink, Alexander Hammelburg, Tom van der Lee, Marieke Koekkoek en Chris Stoffer accepting the authographs

In the words of Chris Stoffer, adoptive parliamentarian for SDG6:

“Water and hygiene are a matter of life. Without drinking water, people will not survive a single day. And where clean water and facilities are missing, diseases get a chance. Especially women and girls in poor circumstances are vulnerable for this. Also, because menstruation is surrounded by stigma. The government does well by acknowledging this vulnerability and bending this into a power. This does ask for a pointed public effort. We hope this resolution contributes to that.”

The answer of the minister has been published in March, and confirms the Netherlands commitment to Menstrual Health.

So, what’s next?

#WeAreCommited to keeping menstrual health for all on the political agenda in the coming year. Together with our partners, we are in close contact with the policy makers and politicians who are working on the implementation of the resolution. No person who menstruates should be stigmatised or hindered in their daily lives.

We want to break the taboos and end the stigma surrounding menstruation, and raise awareness about the challenges regarding access to menstrual products, education about menstruation and period-friendly sanitation facilities

All of this contributes to our overarching goal: to build a world where no one is held back because they menstruate by 2030.

Esther Oeganda

Everbody has the human right to safe water and sanitation.

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