Employees of an Indian charity prepare sanitary pads for low-income and poor women at their office in Mumbai. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)
Menstruation may be commonplace, but it presents extraordinary challenges to people living in lower-income countries. According to UNICEF, at least 500 million women and girls worldwide lack adequate facilities for managing menstruation. And comfortable, effective menstrual supplies aren’t available to everyone with a period.
People who care about menstrual health management want to change that. And the International Menstrual Health Entrepreneurship Roundup (IMHER) is tracking their efforts.
The new website, developed by Dartmouth College’s Global Girls Forward Lab, is an information hub created by a research team with no financial stake in menstrual health. The stakes of the issue, however, are high. Girls in low- and middle-income countries lack information about puberty and periods, and affordability, availability and disposal challenges mean that many people go without adequate hygiene during menstruation. It’s an issue in the United States, too, where “menstrual equity” is a growing policy issue.
The website gathers information on menstrual health education and products and innovations designed to address these challenges.
Those debates are many.
Some researchers argue that focusing on menstrual supplies turns the developing world into a dumping ground for American products. Others cannot agree on whether better menstrual health management will actually improve school performance or increase school attendance.
IMHER doesn’t take a position on those debates. It does provide a comprehensive clearinghouse for people interested in the issue — whether they hope to reduce menstruation taboos, come up with new solutions for menstrual equity, or just learn more about menstrual health around the world.
Ready for a world tour of menstrual health access? Visit IMHER.net to get started.