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October 2020 
Menstrual Memo sent with love (5 min. read)


October 11th is International Day of the Girl! 

 This year, under the theme, “My Voice, Our Equal Future”, International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to be inspired by what adolescent girls see as the change they want, the solutions - big and small - they are leading and demanding worldwide.

This Menstrual Memo will also inspire you with all the amazing progress made around menstrual health in the last weeks. You'll find loads of resources that may help you continue to build an enabling environment for improving menstrual health, including policy advocacy news from Colombia, a new educational game from Germany, tons of events (including this one today - 'Promoting Female Empowerment & Dignity Through Choice of Menstrual Products'!) and new research (thanks to our amazing partner WoMena!)! 

 Don't forget to stop by our Knowledge Hive to check out all the new resources we've been adding! 

Your friends,


P.s. We are recruiting financial partners to help us increase our collective impact. 
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Image: Guardian.com
 
Pantone teams up with Intimina to launch 'Period' Red

INNOVATION 
 

Used by the design industry worldwide, the Pantone Color Institute has launched a new shade called 'Period' inspired by the color of period blood. To create this color, Pantone teamed up with Intimina to empower and encourage everyone - if they have a period or not - to talk more openly about menstruation. As the largest, most comprehensive color-matching system in the world, Pantone made this announcement as part of their global campaign to end menstruation stigma.

Let's paint the walls 'Period' red!

Colombian citizens request removal of menstrual cup tax

POLICY


In November 2018, the Constitutional Court of Colombia unanimously ruled to strike down a 5% tax on tampons and pads on gender equality grounds, to 0% (Judgment C-117), however menstrual cups were left out of the equation. In defence of the rights of girls, women and menstruators in Colombia, the Colombian Menstrual Rights Collective ("Derechos Menstruales Colombia") requested an extension of C-117 for menstrual cups in 2019, which was rejected by the Colombian Constitutional Court. On February 2020 the Court accepted a new lawsuit,  opening a new window for citizen participation.
In order to achieve this menstrual right, Derechos Menstruales Colombia is requesting the help of international experts who want to get involved and share why it would be fair and convenient to extend the application of the C-117 to menstrual cups. If you want to support their campaign Cup without VAT ("Copa sin IVA"), please get in contact directly: derechosmenstrualescol@gmail.com

Support Colombia's activists to strip the cup of VAT
Click here to view the full Memo if yours got cut off
A new period game? Let's play!

EDUCATION / INNOVATION

Created by the ladies at WHAT THE FISH design studio in Munich, Germany, OH WOMAN is a new board game on a mission to clear up and playfully dissolve myths about the female body, removing taboos about periods and female sexuality. Based on the ancient game Mancala, Kalah or Bao, OH WOMAN is currently only available in German, however there are plans to make English and Spanish versions with the money raised. Proceeds from the campaign and the game will go towards providing period products for homeless menstruators in need in Germany through their charity partner Periodensystem.
Support OH WOMAN's crowdfunding campaign

Orikalankini's Fellowship:
Taking menstrual activism & knowledge to the next level


EDUCATION 

 

The teen fellows of Orikalankini work to change narratives around menstruation and sexuality through art, theater and dialogue via a fellowship program run every year. Originally for adults, Orikalankini started a program for teens aged 13 to 19 running 13 weeks online, OPEN TO ANYONE WORLDWIDE to participate.
During the online fellowship, teens learn about intersectional feminism and meet an activist from a marginalized group to hear their experiences. From this, they express their learnings in an art form and a project. This year, the 13 fellows made a hypothetical period policy to be implemented in 2030 for schools, offices, and colleges as well as photo essays on the theme of time and menstruation.

 

Applications for this free but rigorous fellowship opens June every year. Follow Orikalankini on Facebook and Instagram to be updated!

Learn more about Orikalankini's work

Gif: My Time

 

Feeling down? 'My Time' is sure to inspire you


Written and directed by Giulia Gandini, we're excited to share this 6-minute short film with you. ‘My Time’ is the rousing experience of a 12-year-old who has her first period right before she has to give a class presentation. Her behaviour demonstrates the incredible potential and resilience of girls and reminds us that period pride can be realized for all girls, everywhere. 

What we love about this global menstrual health community is how dedicated you all are to creating a world in which every young girl, woman or menstruator is prepared for her period with the knowledge, skills, support, facilities and menstrual materials she needs - where she works, lives and plays. All the more reason we're looking forward to our Community Platform launching in 2021!

Watch 'My Time'
Memo Menstrual (en español)
 
Did you know that we are strengthening our impact in Spanish-speaking countries? With 60 new organizations on the Map and over 100 new resources set to go into the Hive, we will also start producing a Spanish-speaking Menstrual Memo in the next months. 
Suscríbeme!
Click here to view the full Memo if yours got cut off


Promoting Female Empowerment & Dignity Through Choice of Menstrual Products


10:00 AM – 11:30 AM SAST
October 6th, 2020


Register here

 


Book Launch: The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstrual Studies 

12PM EDT / 6PM CET
October 8th, 2020

 
With over 317,000 downloads thus far, the editors will provide a brief introduction and a few contributors—selected to represent the breadth and diversity of the handbook—will share key messages from their respective chapters. 

Register here


A Pacific Platform for
Menstrual Health Action


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEST
October 8th, 2020

 
An interactive webinar and panel discussion about galvanizing regional action on menstrual health


Register here

MHM Summit 

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM GMT+3
October 10th, 2020


A consultative discussion on the barriers, challenges and progress made regarding MHM in Africa.

Register here
Image: wen.org.uk
 
Celebrate Environmenstrual Week: October 19-25


POLICY
 

This week of action is dedicated to amplifying the message about healthy, eco-friendly periods for people, periods and the planet. Use this week to encourage on-and offline conversations about reusable and plastic-free period products.

Learn more about Environmenstrual Week
1. The final report from Simavi's Ritu programme is now out. From 2015 - 2020, the programme aimed to improve the menstrual health of girls, age 10 – 15 in Bangladesh. The programme combined direct interventions in schools and communities in Netrakona district with national advocacy and awareness raising interventions, and the development of a biodegradable sanitary pad. The final report showcases the results of the programme, provides details on the evidence informed programme design, and has reflections and key lessons learned with regards to menstrual health programming.
 

2. Clatworthy et al.,2020: Monitoring Menstrual Hygiene Management Programming in Emergencies: A Rapid Assessment Tool (M-RAT)This M-RAT was developed by Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee with the aim of evaluating the status and reach MHM and WASH materials and supplies, supportive facilities, and information in humanitarian settings.

3. Schmitt et al.,2020: Compendium on Menstrual Disposal, Waste Management & Laundering in Emergencies. This compendium was developed by Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee with the aim of providing practical guidance on (1) menstrual material disposal and waste management and (2) menstrual material washing and drying in humanitarian responses and highlighting a range of new solutions currently being tested worldwide.

4. Ademas et al., 2020: Does menstrual hygiene management and water, sanitation, and hygiene predict reproductive tract infections among reproductive women in urban areas in Ethiopia? A community-based cross sectional study was conducted from January to March 2019 among 602 women aged 15–49 years in Dessie city in Ethiopia to investigate the relationship between menstrual hygiene management and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) factors to reproductive tract infections (RTIs). Results:  Changing menstrual products and washing the genital area only once per day during menstruation were associated with 8.99 and 5.76 times higher rates of developing RTIs. Moreover, using unclean latrines and not washing hands with soap before touching the genital area were significantly linked with RTIs.

5. Beksinska et al., 2020: Acceptability of the menstrual cup among students in further education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A cohort study was done among 509 female students aged 18-24 years attending education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to evaluate long-term (12 months) user acceptability of menstrual cups (MCs). Results: Around 50% of students reported that inserting the MC on first use was very easy or quite easy. Of those who did not find it easy, 80% reported that 2-3 insertions were required to achieve comfort. A maximum of 5 insertions was mentioned to achieve comfort. More than 90% of students who had used the MC reported they would continue to use it at each follow-up visit.

6. Sommer et al., 2020: Menstruation and homelessness: Challenges faced living in shelters and on the street in New York City. This mixed methods study was conducted to highlight both the sheltered and street individuals experiencing homelessness struggles to manage menstruation in New York City from May-August 2019. Results: Researchers report 3 barriers: (1) The absence of private safe spaces for changing menstrual products, (2) the lack of availability for bathing and laundering facilities, and (3) the effects of ongoing menstrual stigma. An overarching theme displayed in this study is a desperate need for more female-friendly, public toilets as well as stocks of free menstrual products.

7. Ramaiya & Sood, 2020: What are the psychometric properties of a menstrual hygiene management scale: a community-based cross-sectional study. A mixed-method cross-sectional study was conducted among 2212 girls aged 12-19 years in three districts of Uttar Pradesh, India to develop and test the psychometric properties of a menstrual hygiene management (MHM) scale using the Joint Monitoring Programme definition and the constructs developed by Muralidharan framework. Results: Only 28% of girls practiced MHM behaviours adequately (adequate preparation, adequate storage, adequate privacy to change, adequate frequency of changing, adequate disposal, and adequate hygiene). The author concludes that MHM is a multi-dimensional construct comprising of two dimensions: menstrual health and hygiene management, suggesting a new term (MHHM) and recommends that future research use the acronym MHHM rather than MHM and conduct further testing of this scale.

8. Jahan 2020: Bleeding during the pandemic: the politics of menstruation. This paper points out challenges menstruators experience during COVID-19 pandemic to fulfil their menstruation needs in Chennai, India. The author argues that physical distancing amid lockdown is practically impossible for residences who have barely two rooms, as housing 5-6 people means that the privacy needed for dignity during menstruation is gone. In addition, the closure of shops and shutdown of transport means less availability and accessibility to menstrual products and essential sexual and reproductive services. Although pharmacies remained open, availability does not automatically translate to affordability as families’ financial difficulties during lockdown made basic provisions unaffordable. In order to ensure provision of basic needs of women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic, the author recommends provision of safe and clean WASH, door-to-door distribution of menstrual products, as well as informing people about the preparation of safe and healthy menstrual products locally or at home. 

The Global Menstrual Map
772 and going STRONG!

The Menstrual Health Hub has the most comprehensive overview of who is doing what, where, around menstrual health and periods, worldwide. The Menstrual Map has over 32,000 views to date!
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P.s. Check out past Menstrual Memos here!

Have feedback on our Memos? Drop us a line at info@mhhub.org
*We use the word female to denote the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova). At the MH Hub, the term 'female health' is used to capture the experiences related to the presence of the menstrual cycle and the specific health issues an individual may face over their life cycle as a result.  We recognize that not all women menstruate, and not all who menstruate identify with being a woman, and strongly advocate for the inclusion of diverse voices, identities and bodies in discussions around female and menstrual health.


Copyright © 2020, Menstrual Health Hub gUG, All rights reserved.


The Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) is a female health impact organization focused on ecosystem-building, knowledge sharing and high-level advocacy around menstrual health worldwide. Menstrual Health Hub gUG (haftungsbeschränkt) is a German nonprofit-enterprise company (limited liability)  

MH Hug UG is a strategic consulting agency specializing in gender and female health.
 MH Hub UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is an German enterprise company (limited liability). Both companies are registered at Factory Berlin, 76/77 Rheinsbergerstraße, 10115 Berlin, Germany. 

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