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50th Session of the Human Rights Council

National Statement during the Panel discussion on menstrual hygiene management, human rights and gender equality, 21 June 2022

Australia thanks the Panel for their presentations.

Menstruation is a normal and natural part of life. However, in many parts of the world, gender inequality, discriminatory social norms and cultural taboos, and a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services mean that menstrual hygiene needs go unmet.

This can have debilitating consequences impacting on all aspects of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. Menstrual stigma also reinforces systemic gender-based discrimination and inequality, including lack of access to education.

Commitment to improving menstrual hygiene management systems, and to ensuring access to accurate information, services and commodities is critical for the realisation of human rights, gender equality and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Australia is committed to ensuring menstruation can be managed safely and with dignity for all.

Through our $118.9 million Water for Women Fund, we are investing in inclusive, accessible, sustainable and climate resilient water, health and sanitation services that strengthen menstrual hygiene management systems.

In the Pacific, Australia supported landmark research on the challenges experienced in managing menstruation, including the ability to fully participate in school, work and communities. In partnership with UNICEF, Australia supports direct investments to improve access to quality information about menstrual hygiene in our region.

Acknowledging that menstrual hygiene management challenges are exacerbated during crises, we ask the panel to share best practice examples of initiatives that integrate menstrual hygiene management, climate change considerations and crisis response.

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