Today is the first global Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Growing up in the Netherlands, menstruation is not so much of a taboo. We even joke about it. When a woman is being cranky, we go ahead and say: ‘Oh dear, it must be that time of the month again..’.

For me personally, it’s no more than one day of self pity, not being able to even sit straight. Furthermore I go ahead as normal, only being aware to ‘change’ every three to four hours to make sure my pants don’t turn red.

In some countries it’s a whole different story.

For Women on Wings I work in the rural areas of India. Apart from the taboo, menstrual products are hard to come by. This results in girls missing out on school (with the risk of dropping out) and women not working for up to a week each month. Next to this, knowledge on dealing with menstruation in a hygienic way is lacking. Rags, ashes and mud are used to cope with the bleeding. You can imagine the infections this causes.

With local partners, we aim to produce and sell bio based sanitary pads in the rural areas. Combined with creating awareness this will help women and girls in daily life. Comfortable protection doesn’t take away the physical inconvenience of back pains and headaches, but it will help feeling secure and stay healthy. In the long run, it helps women and girls reach their full potential.

We need to break the taboo, let girls and women all over the world celebrate being a women and make sure every woman has access to the proper sanitary products!