Dear partners,
This newsletter is packed full with news, upcoming events, and new resources. Let’s dive right in!
Have you noticed the recent trailblazing efforts to address period poverty?
Just last Tuesday, France's Higher Education Minister announced that period products will be made freely available for students and that dispensers offering free tampons, menstrual pads, and other items would be installed in student residences and university health services. Last week, New Zealand, which started a pilot for menstrual product distribution in a few schools last year, announced that they will expand the program to all schools starting in June this year. And at the end of 2020, Scotland issued an act to place a legal duty on local authorities and educational institutions to ensure anyone who needs period products can obtain them for free.
The UK abolished the 5% ‘tampon tax’ and as of 1 January 2021, a zero rate of VAT applies to women’s sanitary products. And the government clarified in response to an earlier petition that period panties are also eligible.
Ethiopia's Ministry of Finance announced in January that the country recognizes Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) as essential, and to stimulate local production of MHM products, removed taxes on all inputs needed for the industry from 30% to 10% (not the VAT).
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have been awarded a £4.2 million funding boost to improve menstrual health in Ugandan schools. We are looking forward to the intervention outcomes!
In contrast to all the positive news, Mexico City’s ban on single-use plastic resulted in a shortage of tampons (with applicators). Menstruation Digna México filed a complaint that you can read here (in Spanish).
25.02.2021 - 10 am CET, plus more dates
IFRC: Learning from other national societies, global menstrual hygiene management experiences
The IFRC is launching a webinar series to present its new compilation of global menstrual hygiene management experiences (see new resources section below). Each webinar will host two national societies that will present their case study as well as other interesting actors who are involved in MHM initiatives
Several dates
Period Posse: Spring webinar series
Continuing with their learning series, the Period Posse has 3 more interesting webinars lined up for the spring. You can also access the previous webinar via the link below.
08.03.2021 - 11 am EST
P&G & Plan: It’s Time to Talk! America Confronts Period Poverty and Stigma.
Join is virtual event if you want to learn more about the research by Procter & Gamble, Always and Plan International USA and hear policy proposals from a panel of experts.
New Resources
Making the Case for Investing in MHH
Last month, Population Services International (PSI), PSI-Europe, The Case for Her, WASH United, and Simavi, in collaboration with the Global Menstrual Collective, launched the groundbreaking report 'Making the Case for Investing in Menstrual Health & Hygiene'. The report is now also available in Spanish and French.
Since the launch, we’ve caught up with some of these stakeholders to capture how this new report contributes to their work and how it can be put into action. Read the blogpost with Voices from the Field: Putting ‘Making the Case for Investing in Menstrual Health & Hygiene’ Into Action. We encourage you to read the report and share how it contributes to your work and how your institution or organization can put it into action, using this social media toolkit.
IFRC (2021): Global Menstrual Hygiene Management Experiences
The aim of the compilation co-authored by 8 National Societies is to give practical “how to” recommendations, share learnings, and provide tools developed through implementing MHM programs which others can learn from, adapt, and apply in their own MHM actions.
UNICEF (2020): Guidance for monitoring menstrual health & hygiene
The purpose of this guide is to support the development and/or improvement of menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) monitoring by highlighting basic principles (including ethical considerations) and providing example questions to monitor the various elements of MHH.
Further publications you don’t want to miss include:
  • Economist Intelligence Unit & Reckitt Global Institute (2021): A life-course approach to hygiene. Download
  • Always (2021): It’s Time to Talk! Menstrual Health & Hygiene in the UK. Download
  • FHI360 (2020): Presentations and recordings from the virtual technical consultation on contraceptive-induced menstrual changes. Download
Articles we enjoyed reading:
  • NPR: 'Why Is A Red Stain A Disaster?' Tips On Fighting Period Stigma with researcher Inga Winkler plus a zine.  Read
  • Jennifer Weiss-Wolf: The Fight for Menstrual Equity Continues in 2021. Read
  • The Case for Her: De-Risking the Pacific Menstrual Health Supply Chain  Read
A selection of the latest peer-reviewed papers:
  • Wilson, L. et al. (2021) Seeking synergies: understanding the evidence that links menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Download
  • Plesons, M. et al. (2021): The state of adolescent menstrual health in low- and middle-income countries and suggestions for future action and research. Download
  • Sommers, M. et al. (2020): Menstrual hygiene management in schools: midway progress update on the “MHM in Ten” 2014–2024 global agenda. Download
  • Gruer, C., Utami, D., Schmitt, M., Sommer, M. (2020): Guidance Note: Integrating Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) into Ebola Response. Download
There are two new podcasts that you can listen to directly or subscribe to wherever you listen to podcasts
Days for Girls just launched their Podcast series in which they interview experts in the fields of menstrual health, social entrepreneurship, and international development, as well as get inside stories from the women and girls. They already have 6 episodes out, and an interview with us is forthcoming. Listen
The creators of the film Pandora's Box launched a podcast series that is on a mission to uncover how periods affect the lives of those that experience them around the globe. Listen.
Do you have questions, comments, and information to share?
Contact us!
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