UNICEF data show that 1 in 4 elementary school students miss classes during their menstrual period in Brazil because they are unable to buy hygiene items
The mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes, sanctioned this Monday, the 12th, the bill that provides for the supply of absorbents for students from municipal schools. The text was approved by the City Council on June 30th. In addition to absorbents, the text provides for the distribution of other hygiene items, such as wet wipes, deodorant, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. Ricardo Nunes highlighted that the measure can help fight school evasion. “It’s something of paramount importance, especially now in the post-pandemic. We have a huge challenge to bring children back to school. And this law aims, in addition to providing care for vulnerable girls, who were absent from school because of not having tampons, but it is also within the context of being together to reduce dropout rates in schools.” The ceremony was attended by the state secretary of Education, Rossieli Soares.
Last month, the state government also launched a project to distribute menstrual hygiene products to low-income students. Gynecologist and obstetrician at Albert Einstein Hospital, Débora Recchi highlights the importance of the measure, but recalls that menstrual poverty goes beyond hygiene. “This is very serious and ends up hindering school development, in addition to the emotional factors involved. Shame to leave the house, socialize. This has a very important impact not only on learning, but on social and emotional contact in these girls’ lives. In addition to this financial issue, there is a lack of knowledge to explain so that they know what their own body is like, that menstruation is not a dirty thing, that this is part of the cycle of all women, of the hormonal development of all of us.” The doctor also says that in addition to providing conditions for girls to be able to go to school during their menstrual period, it is important to teach them to use pads to avoid infections. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), one in four elementary school students misses classes during their menstrual period in Brazil because they cannot afford to buy pads.
*With information from reporter Beatriz Manfredini