UNITED NATIONS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday released a publication setting out guidelines for promoting puberty education across the world.
The booklet, titled "Puberty Education and Menstrual Hygiene Management" and produced by UNESCO in partnership with sanitary product maker Procter & Gamble, seeks to help overcome the ignorance and shame millions of girls feel.
According to it, puberty is a time of change for all young people and "is not a problem to be solved," but it is particularly challenging for girls who are confused about the changes in their body, which can become a major obstacle to their education.
"Girls who are afraid to go to school during menstruation have fewer chances of growing up to be fully empowered women," Director- General of UNESCO Irina Bokova told the launch ceremony, held here at the UN headquarters, via video conference.
The booklet said, in some parts of the world, two out of three girls reported having no idea of what was happening to them when they began menstruating, which can have many negative effects on their physical and emotional development, leading to a drop in self-esteem and poor performance at school.
"We must mobilize educators, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to support puberty education and menstrual hygiene management, an indispensable element in efforts to achieve gender equality and access to good education for all learners," Bokova said.
In this regard, "this publication is an important step in mobilizing the necessary global support for equality between girls and boys in education," she said.
The booklet, the ninth publication in the UNESCO series Good Policy and Practice in Health Education, identifies ways for all partners to work together on puberty education and menstrual hygiene management starting in primary school.
It also provides clear recommendations on what is required to remove the stigma associated with menstruation and offer opportunities to all girls to grow up to become fully empowered women.