As the International Women’s day approaches on 8th March 2013, women in Uganda are arguing that menstrual sanitation still hinders Ugandan girls, especially those in the rural areas from completing their education.
The organizers of the International Women’s (IWD) day argue that many girls in Uganda like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa are inclined to drop of school, or skip because they lack access to menstrual sanitation products or have poor sanitation in their school environments.
The organizers pointed out that one out of 10 school girls are likely to drop out of school, because of poor menstrual management.
Though sanitary pads in Uganda are exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT) as any other basic consumer good, they are not affordable to many Ugandan girls.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network on the subject, Sophia Klumpp of the AFRIpads Cloth Sanitary Pads said girls who drop out of school end up as domestic workers, and cannot fully exercise their economic and social independence.
Klumpp emphasized the need to put menstrual hygiene on the agenda of the education, health, water and sanitation sectors.
According to UNICEF adolescent girls are likely to miss school three days in a month due to menstrual related concerns; this makes 20% of the total school attendance month.
As regards to this year’s women’s day theme – How independent is the Ugandan woman? Jacqueline Nalubega one of the Organizers argues that a more durable and affordable sanitary pad would be a solution to menstrual challenges.
On the 8th march the women network is set to hold national festival showcasing various aspects of development including; entrepreneurship, culture, health and nutrition, education, justice issues and also a special focus on the fight against Female Genital Mutilation.
Petra Behnsen, main organizer of the IWD, says that the platform will give women a chance to address some of the challenges that women still face in a male dominated society.
Some of the discussions set for the international women day will look at how far women have come in the last 50 years since Uganda’s independence.