Investigating the policies and practices of teaching menstrual hygiene education to schoolboys in India

Georgia Hales, Priyadarshika Das, Dani Barrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Menstruation causes many problems for women
and girls globally, the severity of the issues varying
depending on their individual and social context.
The main concerns include access to appropriate
toilet facilities at home, school or work, access to
proper menstrual hygiene management (MHM)
materials and education as well as dealing with the
social stigma and taboo surrounding the subject.
These shortcomings can lend themselves to a
plethora of different problems, including girls
ceasing to attend school once they experience
menarche. In an attempt to ensure girls do not leave
school when they begin menstruating (amongst
other concerns), The Government of India released
National Guidelines on MHM in 2015. The
Guidelines emphasise the importance of educating
both boys and girls about MHM in order to
eradicate the social stigma and encourage girls to
feel more confident in managing their periods
within the school environment. To understand the
level of education given to schoolboys, and the
attitudes towards it, this study consisted of semistructured
interviews with teachers from six state
schools in Mumbai. Regional Centre for Urban and
Environmental Studies (RCUES), Mumbai was
associated with the study as knowledge partner, and
the interviews at the schools were conducted in
collaboration with the RCUES team. Although a
local NGO is conducting MHM education and a
sanitary pad distribution and disposal scheme for
girls, this education is not yet a part of the syllabus,
therefore excluding boys and reinforcing the notion
that menstruation should not be openly discussed
with everyone. All of the teachers interviewed
recognised the importance of educating both boys
and girls on the different facets of menstruation and
MHM and highlighted the barriers as to why it has
not yet been included in their school's syllabus.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Urban World
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


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