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SEC MINA: Let's Address Period Poverty
New York — Following the 68th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Budget Sec. Amenah 'Mina' Pangandaman, head of the Philippine delegation, wants a whole-of-government approach to addressing women's issues, including period poverty.

"Period poverty is something that we need to address urgently, even as we address other issues such as financial literacy and financial inclusion of women," Pangandaman said.

Period poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, and reproductive education that affects women globally, causing physical, mental and emotional challenges.

"This is something that we don't really address in the Philippines because it's almost taboo to even talk about it," Pangandaman explained. "But it's a real problem—in fact, it's a global community health dilemma—that affects women and girls."

Pangandaman said that she will initiate a study to identify the causes and understand the gravity of the issue in the Philippines. "With a population of almost 120 million that is almost 50% female,  we need to understand the social, cultural, economic and even political barriers to menstrual products, education and sanitation, as well as its impact on health issues ranging from urinary tract infections to depression."

"It can even be a barrier to accessing quality education and staying in school," Pangandaman added. "Not having menstrual care products and reproductive education can have serious consequences on both physical and emotional health."

Pangandaman delivered the Philippine statement for the first Ministerial Round Table of the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) on  Tuesday, 12 March 2024, at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City wherein she stated: “The Philippines remains a committed partner in contributing to poverty eradication, acceleration of gender equality, and empowerment of all women and girls, as reflected in our Philippine Development Plan 2023 to 2028 and Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019 to 2025.

CSW is the largest annual event on gender equality and women's empowerment, fostering important conversations among governments, civil society organizations, experts, and activists worldwide.
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