Study Calls For More Research Into The Impact Of Periods On Women's Lives
The Debrief: The Oxford University study looked at the issues surrounding menstrual hygiene and how it impacts on the lives of girls and women around the world
A study into whether menstrual hygiene management interventions improve education and psychosocial outcomes for women and girls in low and middle income countries, has been conducted. Researchers Julie Hennegan and Paul Montgomery assessed the success of initiatives that are being put in place, because there has been little research around this.
‘Interventions such as the provision of sanitary products or education around puberty may be simple strategies that can increase girls’ attendance at school and reduce the stigma surrounding periods,' said senior author Paul Montgomery of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, reports the Guardian. 'Such programmes may be a cost-effective way to target gender inequalities, but we need proper evidence that can measure their effectiveness.'
It's easy to take the availability of sanitary products for granted in the UK but around the world, periods continue to be taboo and neglcted as a consequence. According to the Oxford University study ‘more than 50% of girls have inadequate menstrual hygiene management (MHM), with higher proportions reported in rural areas.’ In India, for example, many temples won’t allow women in incase they’re on their period. It can impact on women's education and work too: in Sierra Leone, 21.3% of girls say that they don't go to school when they're on their period incase they leak and and a quarter of girls in India drop out of school once they start menstruating. On top of this, the association with reproduction and, by definition, sexuality, means it’s approached in a suspicious, judgmental way, if at all. The overarching feeling towards periods is that they’re somehow ‘dirty’.
The study concluded that 'There is insufficient evidence to establish the effectiveness of menstruation management interventions, although current results are promising', proving that this extremely important issue requires further attention. It's promising that researchers are taking steps to investigate this issue, and hopefully their findings that further 'larger, randomised trials are needed to determine the impact of MHM interventions’ as well as more investigation into the impact of MHM on adult women.
Here's hoping this leads to further studies that will insure that women around the world eventually have access to MHM because it is, at the very least, a basic human right.
Like this? You might also be interested in:
Follow Chemmie on Twitter @chemsquier
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating