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.
- 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