All you need to know about MH Day

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From Berlin to Mumbai and Kampala to Mexico City, poor menstrual health and hygiene is a global problem. Around the world, millions of women and girls* are excluded, stigmatised and shamed because of their periods. Myths and taboos about periods harm all of us, whether we menstruate or not.

28 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), the annual global day of awareness and action to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate by 2030. Here are five things you need to know about why in 2024, this day is more important than ever.

1 It’s a global problem.

500 million women and girls worldwide don’t have what they need to manage their periods safely, hygienically and without shame¹. This is due to a combination of lack of access to period products, lack of education about menstruation and inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure. The persisting taboos and stigma around menstruation are the root cause that underpins all these issues. If we can’t talk openly about periods, we can’t effectively address these challenges.

2 Period stigma has far-reaching effects, for all of us.

Menstruation-related challenges have a severe negative impact on the health, educational and income-earning opportunities, and the overall social status of women and girls. In turn, this affects families, communities and entire countries. Management consulting firm Kearney estimates the economic damage resulting from women and girls around the world missing out on education and job opportunities amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars each year².

3 MH Day partners take a multifaceted approach.

The MH Day movement consists of over 1000 partners, all tackling different aspects of the problem. Focus areas include:

  • providing access to good quality menstrual products,
  • educating school children about menstruation,
  • campaigns to change negative social norms,
  • policy advocacy, including the removal or reduction of taxes on period products,
  • ensuring that marginalised groups, such as people with disabilities and refugees, have what they need for good MHH,
  • and much more.

4 Change is happening.

Collectively, we’re making significant progress. The collective reach of the Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign has grown from reaching just over 20 million people in 2014 to 705 million people in 2023. And in the same period, media coverage of MH Day has increased 200-fold.

There is ongoing change at the policy level. In April 2023, the Indian Supreme Court asked the federal government to create a national policy for managing menstrual hygiene for girls in schools³. Period products are now available for free in educational institutions in countries such as New Zealand4, France5, Australia6, in several US states7,  as will as in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa8. In addition Zimbabwe and Brasil9 menstrual hygiene management education will soon become a part of school curricula. Several countries worldwide reduced or removed taxes on menstrual products10.  
In February 2023, Spain approved a bill enabling workers to take menstrual leave if they experience severe menstrual pain11. While the Spanish example is the first in Europe, Japan, Indonesia and several other Asian countries have had similar policies in place for some time12.

5 More investment is needed. Urgently.

Due to the work of MH Day partners, societal awareness of the challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene has grown dramatically. And it has become a much higher political priority in many countries across the globe. We already have the technical solutions, and there are hundreds of committed organisations willing to step up their efforts. We are convinced that it is possible to create a world where no one is held back because they menstruate by 2030. The current funding available13 is focussing mostly on the provision of menstrual products. However, without a significant increase in funding, the movement will fall short of its goal. As a result, millions of women and girls worldwide will be kept from achieving their full potential.

Thorsten Kiefer, CEO of WASH United, said:

“Poor menstrual health and hygiene is a critical barrier towards gender equality. We now know that societies with higher levels of gender equality are safer, more peaceful and more prosperous. In short: ending period poverty and stigma not only benefits women and girls, it’s in everyone’s best interest. The good news is that solving the menstruation-related challenges 500 million women and girls face every month is entirely possible. To make it happen, we urgently need governments, philanthropists and the private sector to allocate the resources needed to enable action at scale.”

Our Experts

Thorsten Kiefer

Thorsten Kiefer is the CEO and co-founder of WASH United. A lawyer by training, Thorsten has more than 10 years of experience working on menstrual health and hygiene-related issues. With Ina Jurga, International Coordinator MH Day, Thorsten came up with the initial idea for Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Thorsten talks about

  • How menstrual health and hygiene is critical for advancing gender equality
  • The role of men in making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2023
  • Menstrual Hygiene Day, including its origin, strategy, collective impact and how the movement and the campaign has evolved over time

Ina Jurga

Ina Jurga is the International Coordinator of Menstrual Hygiene Day and thematic lead for menstrual health and hygiene at WASH United. With 20 years of experience in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, she coordinates a global network of over 1,000 MH Day partner organisations.

Ina talks about

  • The global challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene and progress since 2010, both globally and regionally
  • The origin and impact of MH Day
  • Funding for menstrual health and hygiene, campaigns to end taxes, and policy change
About WASH United

Founded in 2011, WASH United is a Berlin-based non-profit working to create a world where all people benefit from safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), with a core focus on menstrual hygiene.


Women and girls: Not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman and that not all women menstruate.



1 World Bank report2 Mentrual Hygiene Day3 Times of India4 New York Times5 France 246 Government of Victoria, Australia7 Alliance for period supplies8 Washington Post9 Government of Brazil10 Reuters11 Washington Post12 Politico13 WASH United