A South African national, Francesca Nxedhlana, started a petition to Sima Sami Iskandar Bahous, the Executive Director of UN-Women to push for menstrual hygiene to be recognised as a basic human right such as shelter.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 13 September 2021 the appointment of Sima Sami Bahous of Jordan as Executive Director of UN-Women.
In her petition (click here to view the petition), Nxedhlana said about 500 million people are affected by Period Poverty access globally. Reads the petition:
It is estimated that 500 million people are affected by Period Poverty access globally. Access to menstrual hygiene must be a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT, such as shelter and food.
Yet for this cycle, none of us would be here.
The unintended consequences of period poverty
– Leads to absenteeism with a knock-on effect on school performance as well as future earning power.
– Reduced participation in physical activities
– Exacerbation of gender gaps in education
– Increase in drop-out rates
– Creates self-esteem and self-worth issues
– Period shaming and bullying
– Dysmenorrhea goes untreated, impacting the quality of life.