Why We Do It

1. Because of the taboo that causes misinformation

  • Because of the taboo, only a minority if girls and boys learn about the reproductive system and menstrual cycle at school.
  • Girls don’t dare ask questions because reproductive health is a taboo subject.

2. Which then leads to unhealthy practices

  • Most girls wear their pads for too long and up to 1/4 of girls suffer from urinary track infection at any given moments.
  • Poor pain management leads to missing school sometimes (up to 1-2 days of school/ work every month)
  • Harmful myths are common: bathing too much is believed to be dangerous, being active during menstruation is also deemed risky.

3. And this lack of information leads to the misconception that menstruation is dirty

  • Up to 80% of girls feel ashamed when their first menstruation arrive
  • Girls’ self-esteem & confidence are damaged by the brief that their bodies are dirty

4. Which then leads to stigma around menstruation

  • Stress and anxiety amongst girls because of pressure to hide their menstruation
  • Distraction from important things, such as not paying attention at school, because they are worried and insecure.
  • This pressure to hide leads to risky behaviours such as buying at night or not changing pads in order not to be seen.

All of this contributes to girls & women not reaching their full potential and Myanmar Society missing out on their full contribution.

Sources:

  • Burnet Institute’s Adolescent Reproductive Health in Myanmar formative study (FOD & surveys) with 765 rural adolescent girls, January 2018
  • Pan Ka Lay’s own 21 focus groups and 36 in-depth individual interviews with girls, young women, and young men, October 2017 to February 2019, Kantar Public and Pan Ka Lay
  • SPRING Accelerator’s Girl Landscaping research: FGDs with 190 girls and 72 parents if girls, Kantar Public, February 2018
  • Unicef’s assessment of Life skills Education in middle schools in 14 townships, 2012
  • Ministry of Health, Myanmar. Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health (2016-2020), 2015