Menstrual health and hygiene data

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In 2014 the UN Human Rights Council (finally) formally acknowledged the link between menstruation and gender equality. Until recently, research around menstruation, where it existed, was bio-medically focused, ignoring the myriad of related social and cultural issues. Good menstrual hygiene is a right, but is only beginning to be recognized as such.
We lack data to answer basic questions about menstruation – such as what affects the average age at menarche – and basic definitions, such as what counts as good menstrual hygiene in different contexts. Large cross-country surveys (e.g. Demographic and Health Surveys) generally include questions about menstruation only if they relate directly to reproduction; for example, they might ask about postpartum amenorrhea, but not about dysmenorrhea. Recently PMA2020, surveys began to address the menstruation data gap, but the information produced is limited and includes few countries.
Knowledge about menstruation from a social science perspective comes mainly from small scale research projects that look at the impact of menstruation on school attendance, but what of girls who don’t go to school and what of women?
This paper asks what do we need to know about menstruation? Why does it matter? And, what data should we be collecting?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019
EventGender Data Gaps: A FemQuant Workshop - University of Kent, Canterbury
Duration: 12 Jun 2019 → …


WorkshopGender Data Gaps
Period12/06/19 → …


  • Menstruation
  • Menstrual cycle
  • quantitative methods
  • Gender statistics


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