IMHER is a university-based information resource focusing on economic access issues around menstrual products and education, and on the organizations and entrepreneurs worldwide who work to meet those needs in their local communities.
Challenges – and promise – for global menstrual health
Global menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and menstrual health education involve a fascinating, complex set of challenges that include legislative politics, political activism, international organizations, media coverage, donor management, education, supply chains, health care, women’s rights, poverty alleviation, and more.
Perhaps partly as a byproduct of that complexity, schools too often do not educate adolescents about their changing bodies. Menstrual taboos and stigma continue to be prevalent around the world. Lack of access to comfortable, effective, and affordable menstrual products continues to be a challenge for many lower-income menstruators around the world. Environmental and waste-management issues around disposable menstrual products continue to be challenging, while product standards continue to be unregulated in many countries. Furthermore, men, boys, non-binary, trans, and differently-abled individuals are too often left out such discussions entirely.
Those are real challenges. But there is also ample cause for progress on the horizon.
For example, educational efforts and anti-stigma campaigns have increased in recent years in many places. More countries have been eliminating taxes on menstrual products and some have even begun distributing products at no cost to users. Product standards are increasingly being put into place. There are more environmentally sustainable products on the market than ever before. And new female-focused organizations – organizations mostly led by female social entrepreneurs – continue to emerge to create positive change in their own communities.
The Information Challenge
As the volume of information and data available about MHM has increased exponentially in recent years, so, too, has the challenge of bringing order to it. Reliable, searchable, hype-free information about many aspects of global MHM work can still be quite hard to find.
With a particular focus on the intersection of MHM and poverty, IMHER works to gather and consolidate relevant information in user-friendly form, and at no cost. With a laser focus on information management and organization, we work in the background to help the organizations engaged in this work around the world – especially those without research staffs of their own – to be able to empower and educate people in their home countries as efficiently and as effectively as possible.
IMHER is based at Dartmouth College, with the support of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.
Dartmouth College undergraduates gather most of the information on this website as part of a research partnership with political science professor and IMHER founder, Deborah Jordan Brooks. Learn more about IMHER, get to know our team, or reach out to us on our contact page with any suggestions.
The Washington Post calls IMHER “a comprehensive clearinghouse for people interested in the issue — whether they hope to reduce menstruation taboos, come up with new solutions for menstrual equity, or just learn more about menstrual health around the world…The website gathers information on menstrual health education and products and innovations designed to address these challenges. Highlights include a database of research studies related to menstrual health management and a thoughtful roundup of settled issues and ongoing debates in the field.” (April 13, 2019)
A Selection of IMHER Resources to Explore
- Review acronyms and technical terms that are commonly used in global MHM
- Refer to upcoming MHM events, webinars, and deadlines on the IMHER calendar
- Read IMHER’s blog posts
- See a summary of key debates and (somewhat) settled issues pertaining to MHM
- Read this analysis of the challenges associated with distributing menstrual products in low-income contexts.
- Search the IMHER database of organizations that distribute menstrual products
- Search the IMHER databases of:
We want to hear from you!
Please reach out to the IMHER team to let us know if you have any ideas about how to help this website be as useful as possible to the work you do. We are listening.
PHOTO CREDITS: Photo 1 – Ruby Cup (Kenya) – Photo 2 – Saral Designs (India) – Photo 3 – The “Break the Silence” Campaign (India). COVER PHOTO at top of page: The Sure Start campaign in Nigeria. Photo by Lucy Ladidi Elukpo