Dignified Menstruation is a non-profit organisation, made up of more than 30 associations, which is focused on fighting for women’s rights. The group has been working for years to combat misinformation about menstruation and thereby eliminate the taboo that permeates Mexican society.
Tania Martínez Hernández, the coordinator of Social Innovation and Citizen Participation of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, which leads Dignified Menstruation, explained to UN News that in Mexico it is necessary to advance towards the generation of laws and public policies, both in matters that have to do with education, as in those referring to the economy.
According to official data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), only 5% of parents talk to their adolescent daughters about this, and health personnel only affect 5% of minors, which prevent many girls and adolescents from having free access to information, generating fear and insecurity in them.
Gabriela Rivera, the officer of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Adolescents and Vulnerable Groups of the United Nations Fund for Population, indicated that 42% of adolescents and girls reported having missed school during their menstruation, 4 out of 10, a really worrying fact. This school absenteeism is due to the fear of bullying and the inconvenience of not having adequate toilets or water to keep clean. Only 16% of adolescent girls and women have accurate knowledge about menstruation.
“It is known with measurement data from the National Council to Prevent Discrimination that 38% of the population does not have water when this is of the utmost importance for hygiene; 10% do not have a toilet for exclusive use, this is important because it is part of the dignity and management of privacy and integrity. All of this hinders good menstrual hygiene, which leads to health risks,” said Rivera.
In Mexico, as well as throughout the world, the right to have dignified menstruation is of the utmost importance, therefore, among the many achievements that women have obtained throughout their feminist struggle, is the beginning of something that can improve the situation, the right to have feminine hygiene products at an affordable cost, and even for free
The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic in Mexico have given the green light to the fiscal miscellany for 2022, and with it to the proposal not to tax feminine hygiene products with VAT, an initiative presented precisely by the Dignified Menstruation association.
Similarly, the federal Chamber of Deputies voted in favour of reforming article 114 of the General Law of Education in matters of health and menstrual management. The initiative establishes that it corresponds exclusively to the educational authorities of the states to promote, in coordination with the corresponding health authorities, menstrual health and management through various actions, including facilitating free access to products such as sanitary towels, tampons or menstrual cups, for people who require it.
Tania Martínez explained how the high cost of products has affected 50% of the population. And it is that not having decent menstrual hygiene has impacts on the economic and social relations of girls, women and other people.
The effects are very evident in women who live in poverty or who live in marginalised areas, “it is necessary to begin to show that in Mexico 42% of women live in poverty, and systematically men earn more than women. In addition, women are in the most impoverished sector since the poorest women spend 2.5 times more on menstrual management products. This without considering the medications,” Martínez pointed out.