1.1 The Menstrual Hygiene Policy recognizes menstruation as a natural bodily process for all who menstruate including girls and women of reproductive age and addresses the long-standing challenges associated with menstruation in our country. Historically, this biological phenomenon has been overlooked, resulting in negative impact on girls, women, families and the environment. With time awareness has increased, but we need more investment to comprehensively address the diverse requirements of all individuals who menstruate. India, with its vast and diverse population, acknowledges the critical importance of this issue and places great emphasis on framing a comprehensive menstrual hygiene policy. This policy is essential for effectively addressing the needs of all who menstruate and promote a positive transformation within our society.

The Menstrual Hygiene Policy aligns with India’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in relation to Goal 3 on good health and well-being, Goal 4 on quality education, Goal 5 on gender equality, and Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation. By adopting a life cycle approach, the policy ensures comprehensive support through the entire menstrual journey, recognizing the unique needs of individuals from menarche to menopause. It places a specific focus on prioritizing underserved and vulnerable populations, ensuring equitable access to menstrual hygiene resources and addressing their specific needs. Additionally, the policy will serve as a catalyst to raise awareness, challenge societal norms and foster a society that embraces menstrual hygiene as a natural and normal part of life.


1.2 As per NFHS 5, there has been a significant improvement in the percentage of women aged 15-24 years who use a hygienic method of protection during their menstrual cycle, rising from 58% in NFHS-4 to 78%. Among these women, 64% use sanitary napkins, 50% use cloth, and 15% use locally prepared napkins. The survey also revealed that women who have received 12 or more years of schooling are more than twice as likely to use a hygienic method compared to those with no schooling, stressing on the importance of education for girls. In terms of location, 73% of rural women while 90% of urban women use a hygienic method of menstrual protection respectively. However, a few States continue to have lower than average access to use of a hygienic method of menstrual protection by women and girls. These findings highlight the need for targeted efforts and initiatives to improve menstrual hygiene practices in these regions.

1.3 Menstrual health is an integral part of the health and wellbeing of a person and is a determinant of the quality of life which includes things like mobility, work participation, access to education, dignity and freedom. The rationale behind the menstrual hygiene policy lies in its aim to promote the health, well-being, and empowerment of individuals who menstruate. It seeks to ensure access to safe and hygienic menstrual products, improve sanitation facilities, provide comprehensive menstrual health education, address social taboos and foster an inclusive and supportive environment. Through these measures, the policy strives to break barriers, eliminate stigma, and create a society where menstrual hygiene is prioritized, celebrated, and leads to gender equality, education and overall development.

The National Menstrual Hygiene Policy, introduced in 2023, recognizes that menstruation is a natural process for all females and aims to tackle the challenges associated with it in India. The policy fits with India’s aims for better health, education, gender fairness, and sanitation. The policy covers the entire menstrual journey from puberty to menopause, focusing on supporting underserved groups and challenging societal norms. It aims to raise awareness, provide equitable access to menstrual hygiene resources, and promote a positive attitude towards menstruation. The policy also emphasizes the importance of education, as it has been found that women with more schooling are more likely to use hygienic methods. Additionally, it addresses the disparities between rural and urban areas and aims to improve menstrual hygiene practices nationwide. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the health, well-being, and empowerment of individuals who menstruate by ensuring access to safe products, education, and supportive environments.

References and Resources