A lot of research has been done about the barriers to girl’s education in the majority world- early marriage, pregnancy, poverty and disease. But the Daily Nation posted an op-ed on another issue that prevents girls from getting a quality education: menstruation.
Lacking sanitary products, girls find it easier to stay home rather than face the embarrassment and awkwardness of menstruation at school. The article cites a 2005 UNICEF report that found 1 in 10 girls in Kenya did not attend school during their periods.
These absences add up and in some cases girls will stop going to school all together.
Interestingly enough- the solution, the authors argue, is not to send over disposable sanitary products that Western women are so accustom to, but rather to invest in reusable sanitation products, which tend to not only more sustainable, but also more environmentally friendly.
Of course politicians, parents, shop keepers and NGOs all have role to play argues the authors. MPs in Kenya recently lowered the taxes on sanitary towels. Parents and teachers can speak openly and honestly to girls about how to manage their periods and shop keepers can display sanitation products in plain sight.
This is an important issue to address. To quote the authors, “Girls face significant struggles. Let’s not allow the process of becoming a woman to further hinder their pursuits.”
Take a look at the whole article here.