NO ONE CARES WE’RE BLEEDING : THE PLACE OF MENSTRUAL MANAGEMENT IN HUMANITARAIN RESPONSE
Abstract: Menstrual management is a pervasive issue for women globally, and it becomes critical in times of crisis. During these times of crisis and disaster, humanitarian response seeks to provide relief of suffering by meeting essential needs, in a comprehensive and predictable manner. Yet the provision of menstrual management remains largely ad hoc. Through a comprehensive literature review of documents pertaining to menstrual management in emergencies, this paper offers a qualitative analysis of modern humanitarian strategic approaches, to explore the place of menstrual management in emergencies. The core findings are that menstrual management is not fodder for strategy in humanitarian aid, and therefore lacks a ‘home’ in any of the humanitarian approaches to response. It is not fully integrated into either technical strategic implementation, typified by the cluster approach, nor through cultural implementation approaches, typified by gender mainstreaming. This paper also offers some explanations of why such an omnipresent need has, as yet, remained un-championed. This discussion is based on a theoretical framework offered by feminist theory. Supplemented by an understanding of organisations as gendered structures (Acker, 1990), this thesis posits that these cavities in modern humanitarian response are due to the inherent inability and reluctance of the humanitarian system to concern itself with a bodily, female issue such as menstrual management.
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