Winnipeg/CMEDIA: Manitoba is observing today Menstrual Hygiene Day today (MHD), which aims to raise awareness and change negative social norms around menstrual health and hygiene, as well as engage in decision-making to promote it, a news release said.
Initiated reportedly by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2013 and observed for the first time in 2014, MHD is an annual awareness day observed each year on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) at a global level.
Access to Menstrual Products Initiative by the Manitoba government is being supported in schools by the Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko and Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for gender equity, announced today.
“On Menstrual Hygiene Day, I’m pleased to provide an update on this project…Reducing the impacts of period poverty will give students who menstruate the opportunity to better participate in all school-related activities and achieve better health and educational outcomes,” said Ewasko.
Partnering with Shoppers Drug Mart, the Manitoba government announced in fall 2022 its decision to provide free menstrual products to schools and other agencies to improve accessibility and reduce period poverty.
Schools, domestic violence shelters, resource centres, and specialized programs are receiving menstrual products through this agreement to be administered to those most in need.
“Access to menstrual products is a basic necessity, not a luxury…This innovative partnership works towards addressing myths, taboos and stigma around menstruation health and well-being for those who menstruate,”
The initiative aims to distribute across Manitoba 3.3 million menstrual products in its first year throughout participating schools, school divisions and domestic violence sector agencies.
Over 2 million products have been distributed since October 2022 out of which 1.9 million were distributed to school divisions and 293,000 were distributed to domestic violence sector agencies.
All 37 school divisions as well as many independent schools and First Nations schools across Manitoba have engaged in the initiative to date.
To increase awareness of the initiative as well as to highlight the Physical Education/Health Education curricular connections with menstrual health and hygiene, a resource guide for teachers has been reportedly developed.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an occasion to publicize information in the media, including social media, and to engage decision-makers in policy dialogue, to advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management into global, national and local policies and programs.
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