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Even in these challenges times, we shall continue to highlight important areas that affect people’s lives every day during and also after this challenging period. Essity actively supports a range of external days focus on creating awareness around hygiene and health, and one of these important days is Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28.
In 2019, the United Nations launched the Women Count Data Hub to monitor progress on SDG5, Gender Equality. Having worked on projects supporting girls’ education and well-being, I believe in the strength of data-driven insights. For instance, in Mexico, UNICEF states that 30% of girls use toilet paper instead of sanitary pads. This is a global issue that we at Essity are committed to take action on. Women should not be held back by a monthly biological function. It's time we as a society, fix this issue. And it begins with a conversation.
In every country I have visited, I have found that too many girls are uncomfortable speaking about the problems they are having with managing their period. A recent study by our UK brand Bodyform found that more than half of girls would rather be bullied than talk to their parents about menstruation. They partnered with anti-bullying organization, The Self Esteem Team to work with schools providing staff with the resources and classes they need to improve period education for all children, as well as increasing access to menstrual products.
As part of our collaboration with UNICEF Mexico, last year I traveled to Chihuahua to launch 'Hygiene is our Right', an initiative with Saba and Tork to destigmatize menstrual hygiene and promote hand hygiene amongst school communities. Local and grassroots level advocacy is important with culturally issues like menstruation, so we train the next generation, girls and boys, that periods are normal biological functions that can be managed without skipping school.
Well-being and equality are important drivers of long-term economic productivity for our global community. I believe that Essity, besides providing the essential hygiene and health products for all people, plays an important role in the development of girls’ education and confidence of women to build full and active lives. To be able to advocate and give a voice to equality gives my work meaning and purpose every day.
Caring for hygiene, health and well-being is at the core of Essity. We are doing everything we can to support the fight against COVID-19, everything from shifting production to scale up facemasks, to financial and product donations, up to securing the production and supply of the essential daily hygiene and health products.