50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Panel on Menstrual hygiene management, human rights and gender equality
Statement by Nordic-Baltic Countries
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries. Thank you for organizing this panel.
Menstruation is an ordinary part of life that occurs to half of the world’s population. It is an essential part of life course and concerns us all, directly or indirectly. Yet menstruation is often associated with stigmatization and shame, exposing menstruating women, girls and others to violence, discrimination and vulnerable situations.
Misinformation, taboo and harmful societal structures and social norms surround menstruation. These can lead to excluding those who menstruate from work, education, society, even from their homes. A fundamental change, where everyone plays a role, is necessary.
Insufficient availability of safe and clean water, sanitation and hygiene and inexpensive hygiene products stops girls from participating in education. The beginning of menstruation can be seen as a sign for maturity for marriage. Protection of girls and adolescents from violence and harmful practices needs to be our priority. Everyone has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Distinguished panelists, what are the best ways to support the removal of stigma and taboo against menstruation?