Pacific Menstrual Health Network: a menstrual health rights movement
In the Pacific Islands, people who menstruate often experience fear and shame as well as practical challenges (PDF) in managing their periods effectively. These resources share the strategy and progress of the Pacific Menstrual Health Network that is driving change for menstrual health rights across the region.
Addressing menstruation is essential to achieving gender equality and advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, education and other outcomes in the Pacific. However, despite being a common experience, menstrual health remains largely neglected by policymakers, researchers and practitioners across the region.
The Pacific Menstrual Health Network’s vision (PDF) is that Pacific women, girls and all other people who experience a menstrual cycle realise their menstrual health rights throughout their lives. Its members consist of leaders and experts from across the region who collaborate, advocate and amplify local voices to create change.
The Network’s purpose is to:
- Create Pacific visibility and credibility on menstrual health efforts regionally and globally, through leading a strong feminist and human rights platform that is inclusive and diverse for strong Pacific-led collaboration.
- Empower women and girls (from a range of ages, disabilities and identities) to advocate for policies, by influencing policy makers and resources at all levels to bring about systematic change across the region.
- Build evidence within the network and across the region, sharing learnings of culturally and environmentally appropriate solutions to menstrual health across sexual and reproductive health and rights; water, sanitation and hygiene; gender equality; the climate emergency; social enterprises and others to increase menstrual health prioritisation and funding.
- Strengthen capacity of Pacific stakeholders to address menstrual health through a community of practice.
The Pacific Menstrual Health Network was founded in 2019 by seven local Pacific Island organisations: DIVA for Equality (Fiji); Fiji Women’s Rights Movement; Kaleko Steifree (Solomon Islands); Mama’s Laef (Vanuatu); Mana Care (Samoa); the Pacific Disability Forum; and QueensPads (Papua New Guinea).
The network is supported by WaterAid, through the Australian Government’s NGO Cooperation Program.
Watch this animated film developed by the Pacific Menstrual Health Network for Pacific children aged 8–17 to learn about their bodies and menstruation.
Contact [email protected] for more information.
Top image: Zita Martel tells her story to the Pacific Menstrual Health Network in Apia, Samoa as part of the Pacific Periods digital storytelling campaign.