Globally, attention is now being given to the importance of menstruation within public health, gender equality and international development. Programming, research, activism, and entrepreneurialism across the world are addressing menstrual discrimination and other menstrual related challenges.
Collective global action is now needed, amplifying voices advocating for more, evidence-based investment in menstrual health and hygiene to accelerate change. Investment in menstrual health and hygiene can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising human rights.
Menstruation is a normal biological process experienced by half the world’s population for a significant part of their lives. Yet, widespread stigma and taboos associated with menstruation mean that it remains a source of fear, embarrassment and shame. Millions of women, girls and transgender people face menstrual related barriers across their life course due to discriminatory menstrual practices and inadequate menstrual health and hygiene services that prevent them from participating fully in their daily lives.
There is growing recognition of the importance of improving menstrual health to the quality of life and well-being of people who menstruate. Yet this has not been met with a corresponding increase in the investment needed to comprehensively address menstrual health for all.
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Minister of Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children in Niger – giving opening remarks at an MHH pre-conference event at the ICPD Summit.
The Global Menstrual Collective includes representatives from UN organizations, academia, government, funders, private sector, existing coalitions, advocacy groups, youth focused organizations, faith-based groups, independent consultants and international non-governmental organizations. Members represent different sectors relevant to menstrual health and hygiene include water, sanitation and hygiene; sexual and reproductive health and rights; youth; gender and those focused on menstrual health and hygiene.
The Collective has a distributed leadership system and its governance structure is purposefully light, with a loose alliance in place initially rather than a registered, separate entity. Our Foundational Statement is here.
The activities of the Collective are delivered by self-governing Action Groups. Action Groups may exist for a specific activity or be continuous. More details of the action group activities can be found in the Collective Review Document on the Who We Are page.
Day-to-day activities to coordinate the Collective and support the Core Group and Action Groups are conducted by a Coordination Team who report to the Core Group. The Coordination Team is responsible for carrying out a programme of work in line with the stated aims of the Collective.
The Collective is currently led by a Core Group composed of volunteers from the founding members. The core group supports and steers the collaborative efforts of the Global Menstrual Collective to connect dots, amplify change, plan, organise, leverage actions and resources to meet the purpose and priorities of the Collective.
The COVID19 pandemic threatened to halt or reverse hard-earned momentum and progress made in recent years around improved investment in menstrual health and hygiene. Managing menstruation during the pandemic has proven difficult as COVID19 related restrictions has made it hard for some to access safe and affordable menstrual hygiene materials, clean and private sanitation and hygiene facilities and services providing support, information and health advice and treatment. The Global Menstrual Collective members have compiled existing materials and guidelines to address menstrual health and hygiene during the pandemic to provide a comprehensive online resource here and infographic.