Red Dot Challenge: Let’s talk

German-based NGO ‘WASH United’ in 2014 took a bold step by dedicating May 28 a special day to inform and educate people about the importance of menstrual hygiene management (MHM). This day is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day across the world. The reason behind choosing this day is that the average menstrual cycle takes 28 days, and every female menstruates for an average of 5 days. UNICEF, together with adolescent girls, women, partners, and advocates, reimagines a world where no girl or woman is held back because of natural menstrual cycles.

The celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day was started with an objective to address the challenges and hardship of women during menstruation. It highlights the positive and innovative solutions such as use of “Menstruation Cups.” To recognize and support women rights worldwide and engage in policy dialogue and actively advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management at global level.

What is #RedDotChallenge ??

Worldwide studies have shown that period cramps to be as bad as having a heart attack. It leads to loss of working hours, productivity during work. Women being the backbone of families and also active participants in nation-building, need to stay active and distressed.

“Red dot campaign is an effort to change mindsets and educate society on the urgency to address menstrual cramps in the right manner. The campaign wants to challenge the belief that suffering from severe or normal period pain is something that women naturally deserve,”

Harry Sehrawat, COO and director of Sanfe

Sanfe, a feminine hygiene brand, partnered with NGO Pinkishe and The Better India has launched #RedDotCampaign, later joined by many worldwide NGOs. The campaign intends to generate widespread awareness around the discomfort caused by a period of pain in the life of women and how it restricts them from reaching new heights in various walks of life. To spark conversations around period pain and allow women to embrace periods in the most inspiring manner, #RedDotCampaign invites women to post a photo on social media with a ‘Red dot’ on their hand and tag 2 friends or family members to do the same.

Additionally, UNICEF has organized a series of online activities through webinars, pieces of training, book releases, competitions, and consultation in Odisha, UP, MP, Chattisgarh, Gujarat around Menstrual Hygiene Day across India. In Maharashtra, UNICEF has supported the distribution of 220,000 sanitary pads in urban slums, villages, and COVID Care centers in Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik, to adolescent girls, sex workers, migrants, and women on the move. As in India menstruation is a topic of stigma, period pain is completely ignored that make the days stressful and painful to menstruating population.

Various results from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ‘Menstrual Hygiene Preparedness Among Schools in India (2020) found that less than half the girls were aware of menstruation before the age of menarche. Furthermore, a UNICEF and National Institute of Urban Affairs study on adolescents in India (2020) indicates that 50% of girls are unable to use menstrual materials during their menstrual period because they cannot afford it.

The menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability, and social norms. Adequate sanitation facilities and access to feminine hygiene products are one part of the solution. Creating a culture that welcomes discussion and makes adequate education for women and girls is of equal importance.

COVID 19 and menstruation

Vaccines and the misinformation is not a new challenge, it is responsible for the creation of vaccine hesitancy even in European countries. The same happens to the COVID vaccine and there is a load of rampant misinformation associated with infertility and the menstrual cycle. Periods related misinformation and stigma should never stop women and girls from accessing lifesaving services like free vaccination and health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has stricken the economic continuity worldwide and limited access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure are undermining the educational opportunities, health, and overall social status of women and girls in India.

The pandemic has made things worse with limited availability of sanitary products and increased pressures on women and girls linked to lockdowns, increased poverty, and disruption of essential services affecting large pockets of the population.

The problem

Every month, 1.8 billion people across the world menstruate. The irony is going through this, many girls do not know the biological reasons behind it, nor do they understand the sudden discrimination they face which affects the physical and mental health of women. The isolation and stigma, cutoff schools and community life with restricted mobility and freedom of choices, the deprivation from safe, hygienic and affordable options to manage menstruation with dignity. This is why UNICEF ‘s want to building appropriate and inclusive community awareness and supporting supply of hygienic menstrual products, changing viewpoints and perspectives. It is calling everyone to break free of these harmful period stereotypes and increase investment in Menstrual Hygiene Management, awareness on menstrual hygiene and ensure easy access to related supplies.

The menstruating community include girls, women, transgender men and non-binary persons. “Even in the best of times, gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services often cause menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) needs to go unmet. Today, UNICEF and the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) joined hands to discuss the importance of ensuring that all menstruating women and girls receive high quality products to use, and what that means in terms of establishing norms and standards.

Published by Neel Kamal

My name is Neelkamal. Here, I will provide the content effective for everyone who want to learn more and more. And if you want, I am open for your suggestion to write on. I have done M.Sc in Biotechnology and also read about the Political, Social, Environmental issues. So, my blog will surrounds upon topics related to these subjects.

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