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Water Scarcity a Barrier to Menstrual Health and Dignity

As the world observes Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Women4Water movement has called for the need to address water shortages, a critical issue profoundly affecting menstrual hygiene and the well-being of women and girls worldwide.

In a statement to mark the day, the movement said without reliable access to clean water, they face numerous challenges that compromise their health.

“Access to clean and sufficient water is essential for maintaining proper menstrual hygiene. Women and girls need water not only for drinking but also for washing and sanitation purposes during their menstrual cycles. Without reliable access to clean water, they face numerous challenges that compromise their health, privacy, and educational and economic opportunities.

“Water shortages exacerbate these difficulties, making it nearly impossible for women and girls to manage their menstruation safely and with dignity. The consequences are profound: Insufficient water for washing can lead to infections and other health issues. Poor menstrual hygiene management increases the risk of reproductive and urinary tract infections, which can have long-term health implications,” said the movement

The consequences of water shortages are far-reaching, making it exceedingly difficult for females to manage menstruation safely and with dignity.

“Many girls are forced to miss school during their periods due to inadequate water and sanitation facilities. This absenteeism contributes to higher dropout rates and limits their future opportunities. The inability to manage menstrual hygiene effectively can prevent women from participating fully in the workforce and community activities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and gender inequality. The lack of water and sanitation facilities infringes on women’s and girls’ dignity, causing stress and embarrassment, and perpetuating stigma and discrimination related to menstruation

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“By addressing water shortages and improving menstrual hygiene management, we can make significant strides toward gender equality, public health, and the empowerment of women and girls. Together, we can ensure that menstruation is no longer a barrier to a healthy, dignified, and fulfilling life. Women4Water stands committed to advocating for these changes and working towards a future where every woman and girl can manage her menstrual hygiene safely, comfortably, and with pride,” added the movement

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263Chat is a Zimbabwean media organisation focused on encouraging & participating in progressive national dialogue

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