Menstrual hygiene products, their disposal and appropriate waste management solutions are addressed in silo. However, they are deeply intertwined.

We started from ground zero, asking women in our office and some working in the hygiene sector about the period products they use, its disposal & if they are aware of sustainable menstrual products. Take a look!

In India, 57.6% women aged 15-24 years use hygienic menstrual absorbents during their periods.

National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-16)

52% of girls don't get any information about periods before they start menstruating.

(LSTH et al, 2016)

45% of women use commercial products to maintain menstrual hygiene.

Van Eijk et al (2016)

Informed product choice and disposal

WaterAid India’s recent report talks about menstrual product landscape in India for women & girls to make an informed choice as per their needs.

Read the full report

The report highlights a three-way comparative analysis on menstrual products, including Disposable Pads, Reusable Pads and Menstrual Cups on various parameters including sustainability and the waste load of each product category. The comparative analysis shows that a sanitary pads user uses an average 6,120 disposable pads in her lifetime compared to a cloth pad user (136 reusable cloth pads) and a menstrual cup user (only 7 reusable menstrual cups over her lifetime).

Arundati Muralidharan
The menstrual health and hygiene landscape in India has evolved, with more product categories available than ever before. At this critical juncture, the conceptualisation and practice of informed product choice in menstrual hygiene programs and policy is imperative. Informed product choice enables girls and women to choose a safe menstrual hygiene product according to her needs and comfort, her ability to pay, and the context in which she lives and experiences menstruation.
Arundati Muralidharan, Manager-Policy at WaterAid India

Awareness generation on menstrual hygiene management has typically focused on use of just sanitary pads. A vast majority of products reaching women and girls through government and large manufacturers are made primarily of non-compostable materials – materials that take hundreds of years to degrade. Apart from the amount of waste generated, when women and girls do not have easy access to disposal options, they tend to wear a pad for much longer than they should, putting them at risk for unnecessary and avoidable discomfort and health issues.

There is no shame in menstruation!

It is time to embrace honest language around menstruation, challenge the stigma and drop the euphemisms.

Euphemisms around menstruation

Krishna Devi at her kiosk in Uttar Pradesh
Image: WaterAid/Dhiraj Singh

The diary of a village 'butterfly'

Sachin with his four sisters in UP
Image: WaterAid/Dhiraj Singh

Sachin’s gift to his sisters

MHM meeting in Lalpur, UP
Image: WaterAid/Dhiraj Singh

Breaking the silence around menstruation

Media stories 

Media articles on menstrual hygiene management and informed product choice.

Our work

Here is why clean water and decent toilets are vital when it comes to periods.

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