A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools

A lack of adequate guidance, facilities, and materials for girls to manage their menstruation in school is a neglected public health, social, and educational issue that requires prioritization, coordination, and investment . There are growing efforts from academia, the development sector, and beyond to understand and address the challenges facing menstruating schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). A body of research has documented menstruating girls’ experiences of shame, fear, and confusion across numerous country contexts and the challenges girls face attempting to manage their menstruation with insufficient information, a lack of social support, ongoing social and hygiene taboos, and a shortage of suitable water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities in school environments . The accruing evidence reveals the gender discriminatory nature of many school environments, with female students and teachers unable to manage their menstruation with safety, dignity, and privacy, negatively impacting their abilities to succeed and thrive within the school environment. Poor school attainment reduces girls’ economic potential over the life course, impacts population health outcomes, and also extends to girls’ sexual and reproductive health outcomes, self-esteem, and sense of agency.