Menstrual health programming
Through menstrual health programming, Plan International USA seeks to ensure that girls and women can confidently and comfortably manage their periods.Each day, more than 800 million women and girls around the world have their periods, yet many face significant barriers to managing their periods safely and easily.
Addressing period poverty and stigma requires a comprehensive approach — meeting women and girls’ immediate needs for supplies and facilities, and also ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to understand menstruation. It also means creating and fostering environments in which girls are supported, instead of restricted, shamed and teased.
Here are some of the ways Plan addresses period poverty and stigma:
Creating girl-friendly bathroom facilities: Women and girls require safe, private facilities with easy access to water and hand washing stations, as well as a place to dispose of menstrual products. Plan aims to create girl-friendly facilities in schools, health clinics and communities.
Improving access to menstrual products: Many women and girls do not have access to quality, hygienic menstrual products. By partnering with social enterprises and the private sector, Plan works to improve the availability, affordability and range of menstrual products.
Increasing knowledge and skills: Because of the stigma and silence surrounding this issue, women and girls, and men and boys, often know very little about menstrual health. To address this critical gap, Plan promotes menstrual health education through community platforms such as girls’ clubs, parenting groups and teacher trainings.
Enabling a supportive environment: For many women and girls, periods are a source of shame and embarrassment because of social taboos and stigmas. In some cultures, these taboos lead to serious restrictions on daily activities. Plan is working to dispel the stigma by engaging with communities through participatory channels such as community theater, radio spots and interactive trainings.
We partnered with Always in 2020 on a report, “It’s Time to Talk! Menstrual Health & Hygiene in the U.S.”, to uncover exactly how destructive the period stigma really is for young people. Learn more about the report.