- The main barriers to a dignified menstruation continue to be: prejudices, taboos, lack of access to infrastructure and lack of information and dialogue.
- The majority of those surveyed consider it very important to grant menstrual leave to women at work.
- 9 out of 10 adolescents, women and menstruating people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they have no change in their menstrual cycle.
Although the menstruation It is part of the nature of all women, never before has a large-scale study been carried out in Mexico. With this in mind, the hygiene company Essity, in collaboration with the civil society organization #DignifiedMenstruationMexico and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), made the first national study on the subject.
As a result of the above, the “First National Survey of Menstrual Management”. It is the first time that the private sector, international organizations and civil society have joined efforts to carry out a national survey on menstruation and its challenges in Mexico.
The objective of the work was Learn more about how menstruating women and people live their cycle and their menstrual period. Also delve into the issues of infrastructure, legislation, physiological aspects, management methods and the cultural and social context of menstruation. Among its main results, the following stand out:
1. Not talking about menstruation only aggravates society’s prejudices regarding this natural process
The number one barrier faced by adolescents, women and menstruating people is the lack of knowledge and information regarding menstruation. This is reflected in the fact that 6 out of 10 people surveyed would like not to have menstruation due to the problems that this generates.
The intensity of the pain, the fear of staining clothes and because it is uncomfortable, are the main reasons that explain why adolescents, women and menstruating people stop doing different activities, such as playing sports or having sex.
Comments on the street, annoying phrases from relatives and teasing from colleagues or peers at school or work are unpleasant situations that, although they have decreased, are still present due to ignorance, lack of empathy and/or bullying .
2. The challenge remains to provide access to infrastructure and menstrual management products for all who need it
The percentage of adolescents, women and menstruating people surveyed who do not have the necessary infrastructure for menstrual management, at work and/or school, is just over 15%. It should be noted that Puebla is the state with the highest volume of people who do not have the necessary tools with just over 20%.
The menstrual product most used by adolescents, women and menstruating people surveyed are disposable towels and, a distant second, cloth towels. Michoacán is where the use of cloth towels is most recorded.
Regarding the materials available for menstrual management in their workplace or school, toilet paper and soap are the two scarcest products according to the people surveyed.
56% of adolescents, women and menstruating people surveyed say that their school or workplace does not provide free menstrual management products. This percentage is much higher in the states of Puebla (77%) and Oaxaca (74%).
69% of the people surveyed declared having had little or no information when their first menstruation arrived. But it should be remembered that the average age of onset of menstruation is concentrated between 12 to 15 years. 7 out of 10 indicate that her mother is the first person with whom she talked about menstruation, since 44% feel uncomfortable talking to a man (even if he is a relative) and 52% with their male colleagues/friends. Also 90% of people say they strongly agree and agree that menstruation is a topic that should be taught to both boys and girls.
Up to 65% of adolescents, women and menstruating people surveyed do not know that they paid 16% VAT for menstrual management products in Mexico. The largest number of people who did know about this tax collection are concentrated in Michoacán and Oaxaca. However, up to 85% of those surveyed are unaware that VAT is no longer paid since January 2022, a percentage that does not change significantly between states.
9 out of 10 people surveyed consider it very important to implement initiatives (remove the 16% tax, menstrual permits and public resources for products). More than 85% of those surveyed in the states evaluated say they are unaware of any type of local law on menstrual management or educational reform in their state.
4. There are relevant challenges in terms of menstruation and health
9 out of 10 adolescents, women and menstruating people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, claim to have no changes in their menstrual cycle. Among those who have observed some different symptoms, these are: heavy bleeding, stronger cramps and/or irregular periods.
Feeling tired, being sensitive or irritable during menstruation are the most common feelings or conditions. Up to 30% of those surveyed keep some type of control and/or record (agenda, cell phone, other) of the duration of their menstrual cycle, the type of flow or the symptoms they feel. In Oaxaca there is the largest number of people who say they do not have any specific feeling during their menstrual cycle, nor do they keep a log of their menstruation.
Up to a third (33%) of adolescents, women and menstruating people surveyed do not menstruate on a regular basis, a figure that is especially high in the states of Michoacán (42%) and Tamaulipas (41%). It should be noted that among those who are not irregular, at least a third is due to menopause since their period behaves like this normally.
At the national level, among those who are already experiencing the effects of menopause, the data show that the main symptoms experienced are hot flashes, night sweats, changes in mood and irregular menstruation. It is worth mentioning that, although they experience different symptoms, 6 out of 10 of these women and menstruating people surveyed do not seek medications and/or treatments to relieve themselves.
More than 80% of surveyed adolescents, women and menstruating people have a menstrual period of no more than a week, concentrating between 4 to 6 days. Similarly, the majority of those surveyed reported not feeling pain or having slight discomfort during their menstruation. These behaviors do not show significant differences between the states evaluated. Among those who do have significant discomfort or pain, buying pain medicine or drinking an infusion or tea to relieve discomfort are the most frequently mentioned actions, they stop doing activities such as sports or having sex.
If you want to know the complete results of the First National Survey of Menstrual Management in Mexico you can review the following link.
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