Millions of people who menstruate struggle to manage their monthly menstruation safely, comfortably and with dignity. We call for clean water, sanitation and hygiene, health and social services and facilities to protect the rights and dignity of those who menstruate.
1. Periods don’t pause for pandemics! Let’s ensure that sanitary and menstrual health products are not affected by store closures and stock-outs.
2. Periods should not be an afterthought—or worse, cause for punishment or deprivation of bodily integrity. At a minimum, governments must ensure that those doing the crucial work on the frontlines can satisfy their basic needs.
3. Stigma stops people who menstruate from asking for sanitary and menstrual products. As communities practice physical distancing, it will be even more difficult to provide pads and tampons to the most vulnerable people. Don’t be shy to ask for help.
4. As people are quarantined and placed in isolation, provision should be made for sanitary and menstrual products.
5. Menstruation affects girls and women’s reproductive life. Cultural beliefs and social and gender norms may restrict their participation in society during menstruation and other types of vaginal bleeding.
6. Menstruation is a valuable indicator and predictor of health. We need to ensure that girls, women and all people who menstruate can access sanitary products and manage their period cramps, discomfort and other challenges during the pandemic.
7. Menstruating girls and women may face limited privacy, inadequate access to toilets and water, and may lack menstrual products, underwear and soap while in quarantine or isolation, or due to lockdown restrictions.
• Provision of family planning and other sexual and reproductive health commodities, including menstrual health items, are central to women’s health, empowerment and sustainable development. This may be impacted by stress on supply chains in the pandemic response.
• Under quarantine conditions, women and men experience different physical, cultural, security and sanitary needs. We need to ensure that the needs of all are met.