#UntaxMyMenstrualPad campaigners.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Plateau State House of Assembly has been told to prioritise menstrual hygiene management, and support policy changes that will make menstrual products affordable and accessible to girls and women fleeing conflict in the State.

The Assembly was also charged to show commitment in promoting rights and dignity of the vulnerable by making gender-friendly laws.

Diverse women’s rights organisations including Women for Women International, Women and Girl Child Rescue and Development, Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society, Women Initiative for Sustainable Community Development, ATTAH Sisters Helping Hand Foundation, Child is God Foundation, and Speak for Life Cancer Prevention Initiative and others urged the lawmakers to support women in every endeavour to promote equity and equality.

The women who gathered for a walk in Jos to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day and carry out an advocacy campaign tagged #UntaxMyMenstralPad maintained that the lack of access to clean and affordable menstrual products poses significant challenges to their health, dignity, and overall well-being.

Presenting their resolution to the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Dewan, Ochanya Fatoki said, “In commemoration of International Women’s Day, we are launching a movement to advocate for policy changes that will reduce the cost of menstrual products and ensure access for all women and girls, regardless of their social and economic context.

“Many girls and women in conflict-affected areas resort to using unhygienic and inappropriate materials such as newspapers, old rags, or dried leaves to manage their menstrual flow due to the unavailability of suitable products.

“The absence of proper facilities for changing and disposing of menstrual products exacerbates hygiene issues and poses health risks to women and girls. Limited access to soap and water further complicates menstrual hygiene management, increasing the risk of infections and other health complications.

“Menstrual hygiene management is a fundamental aspect of women’s health and dignity, and every woman and girl deserves access to clean and affordable menstrual products. We urge the Speaker of the State House of Assembly to prioritise the issue of menstrual hygiene management and support policy changes that will make menstrual products more affordable and accessible to girls and women fleeing conflict.”

READ: Plateau women entrepreneurs ask for 50% rebate on land processing fees

Also speaking, the Chairperson of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Commission, Olivia Dazyam added that the State Assembly looks into and fills the gaps in the existing gender laws and check the level of implementation of the laws.

Responding, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Dewan congratulated the women for their resilience in the face of challenges and assured them that the Assembly would continue to make gender-supportive laws that give women a sense of belonging.

His words, “I want to assure you that in budgeting, we would continue to ensure gender-sensitive appropriation laws that would give the women the needed financial capacity to meet up all your agitations.”

There was a distribution of free menstrual pads to all the participants.

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