Women and gender

Pad Man: Bollywood's 'menstrual man' movie targets Indian taboo

A Bollywood movie about an inventor who created a revolutionary machine that makes cheap sanitary pads hit Indian screens this month, challenging taboos surrounding menstruation in socially conservative India. Arunachalam Muruganantham is nicknamed India's "menstrual man" for transforming the lives of poor women forced to use items like old rags, sand and leaves during their periods. He has been lauded by India's government and is now getting the star treatment with Bollywood A-lister Akshay Kumar portraying him in "Pad Man", which was released on 9th February 2018.

Menstrual Cups and Reusable Pads Are Literally Changing Lives Uganda’s Refugee Camps

Menstrual hygiene management is a challenge for many women across Africa. Sanitary pads are expensive, meaning many women use rags or even leaves to protect their underwear, putting them at greater risk of infection. A lack of sanitation at schools leads to many girls staying home during their periods or dropping out altogether when they start menstruating.

According to one 2016 study, over 90 percent of Ugandan primary schoolgirls struggle with maintaining their menstrual hygiene.

For refugee women, periods are a dangerous, shameful time

On any given day, more than 800 million women between 15 and 49 have their period. However, globally 1.25 billion women do not have access to a toilet during menstruation, according to the charity WaterAid.

For refugee women, fleeing their homes for safety, the challenges of a period can be even greater.

"There's no dignity in having your period when you're a refugee," Terri Harris, of the Muslim women-led development charity Global One told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Menstrual health and school absenteeism among adolescent girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): a feasibility study

Management of menstruation can present substantial challenges to girls in low-income settings. In preparation for a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism in Uganda, this study aimed to investigate menstruation management practices, barriers and facilitators, and the influence of menstruation on school absenteeism among secondary school students in a peri-urban district of Uganda.

Date: 10 January 2018
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Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion within water, sanitation and hygiene

This discussion paper was developed by, and is the result of, a collaboration between WaterAid, CBM Australia and Di Kilsby Consulting. It is based on reflections on applying integrated gender and disability advisory support to rightsbased water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Date: 4 January 2018

Gender-Responsive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Key elements for effective WASH programming

Effective gender-responsive programming in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector can contribute to progress towards gender equality and important WASH results. This document outlines essential elements that WASH practitioners should take into account at all points in the programme cycle in order to enhance a gender-responsive approach to their work.

Date: 3 January 2018

These women have broken all stereotypes to improve sanitation in rural India

At a time when many national and international media report on the atrocities committed against women in India, the stories of women's leadership in development remains an oft-ignored story. As India pitches headlong into making toilets in the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), there are heart-warming stories of women leading campaigns for better lives in their panchayats against heavy odds. A small percentage of the 271,000 villages that have rid themselves of open defecation can be attributed solely to the efforts of these women.

Understanding and defining sanitation insecurity: women’s gendered experiences of urination, defecation and menstruation in rural Odisha, India

Research suggests that the lived experience of inadequate sanitation may contribute to poor health outcomes above and beyond pathogen exposure, particularly among women.

Date: 3 January 2018
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