Puberty and menstruation are a fundamental part of adolescent girls’ lives, yet many girls in low- and middle-income countries know very little about the resulting physical and emotional changes. This lack of knowledge can reinforce feelings of fear, shame or embarrassment—especially when coupled with sociocultural norms that deem girls and women ‘impure’ or ‘dangerous’ during menstruation.
This digest explores what we do and don’t know about girls’ experiences and knowledge of puberty and menstruation. It sets out an agenda for action for those working with and for adolescent girls, to start to challenge the stigma surrounding puberty and menstruation by increasing access to information, providing girl-friendly water and sanitation facilities, tackling harmful social norms and investing in better monitoring, evaluation and research.
Coast, E., Presler-Marshall, E. and Lattof, S. R. (2017) An agenda for policy and action to support girls through puberty and menarche. London: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence.