Girls’ right to education: a study of what impact menstruation has on female school participation in Zimbabwe

Case Studies & Research
44 p.

Educating girls has been argued to be a key contributor to a healthier and more affluent nation. Over the last years, poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) possibilities for female students in low-income settings have been stressed to pose a major hinder for girls to access and complete their education. However, less attention has been directed to how female students can concentrate and thereby participate in school when being on their period. This thesis seeks to investigate how a menstrual cup is perceived to facilitate school participation according to female students. It was examined through a five months field study in three secondary schools in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe where female students received a menstrual cup to use. Quantitative surveys together with qualitative interviews were used for data collection. The results were analysed through the radical feminist theory and the capability approach. Together the two theories provided a comprehensive understanding of how the female body and menstruation is perceived in a Zimbabwean context and consequently the impact on the willingness to use the cup. The study concludes that the cup was perceived to improve confidence and comfort among the users, and hence their possibility to participate in school increased.

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