Pass senate bill advocating for menstrual health and rights

Pass senate bill advocating for menstrual health and rights

/ 04:05 AM February 19, 2024

In late 2023, Sen. JV Ejercito filed Senate Bill No. 2475 which aims to provide female students and women with free menstrual products in schools and barangay health centers and will be tasked under the Department of Education and the Department of Health. For many women and girls including myself, this has been long overdue because of the stigma and challenges associated with menstruation. If the bill successfully becomes a law, the Philippines will follow in the footsteps of Scotland in making menstrual products more accessible to the general public. This will be a giant step in easing the burdens menstruating women face.

Many Filipinos generally see menstruation as a symbol of womanhood or a rite of passage for girls. According to the 2022 National Demographic and Health Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Filipino women on average get their first period at 13.

Filipinos also see menstruation as something gross and dirty because of the blood that comes out. It has even become a taboo to openly talk about it, making girls hide their periods despite being a natural function of their bodies. Consequently, there has been a lack of proper discourse and education on menstruation. Myths like taking a bath will have bad effects and jumping over the stairs to shorten the length of one’s period have thrived in our culture as a result. Not only that, some girls do not even know what to do once they get their first period.

Because of these things, period poverty has become a problem in the Philippines despite the lack of statistics. The Journal Global of Health Reports defined period poverty as “a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, and education.” Many Filipinos, especially the underprivileged, have unknowingly suffered from period poverty. For instance, the World Bank stated in 2019 that 8 percent of girls in the Philippines miss school because of their periods. Fast forward to 2023, Ejercito cited reasons for girls missing out on school in his proposed bill as the following: shame, embarrassment, and unaffordability of menstrual products.


How do we adequately address women’s concerns about their menstrual health and strengthen menstrual rights? Menstruation is not just a hygiene issue but also a health and human rights issue according to the World Health Organization.

In the Philippines, the general situation of menstruation is gradually improving starting with acknowledgments and improved discourses. Local organizations like the We Bleed Red Movement PH have dedicated themselves to tackling the stigma of menstruation and period poverty in the country head-on. Lastly, conversations about menstruation have reached our government.

The experiences and challenges women and children face are being crafted into policies. Besides Ejercito’s bill, Gabriela party list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Cotabato Rep. Samantha Santos separately filed similar bills this year proposing a two-day menstrual leave for female employees in the workforce. The Philippine government has also provided education and information about menstrual health across 60 percent of schools according to a United Nations Children’s Fund report.

Advocating for menstrual health and rights is fighting for human rights like gender equality and quality education. We have already made progress addressing the country’s period poverty problem like the lack of discourse, but there is a lot more work to be done. Providing menstrual products for free in schools and barangay health clinics is another giant step.


As girls and women, we should no longer bleed out of shame or burden during our periods. Let our monthly experiences instead bleed into advocacies, policies, and other actions that will ease each other’s social and economic burdens of menstruation.

Amanda Punzal, University of the Philippines Baguio

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