Where the Education System and Women’s Bodies Collide: The Social and Health Impact of Girls’ Experiences of Menstruation and Schooling in Tanzania
Abstract: The global development community has focused in recent decades on closing the gender gap in education, but has given insufficient attention to the specific needs of pre- and post-pubescent girls as they transition to young womanhood within the educational institution. This study explored the social context of girls' experiences of menses and schooling in northern Tanzania, with data collection focused on capturing girls' voiced concerns and recommendations. Results indicated that pubescent girls are confronted with numerous challenges to managing menses within the school environment. Many are transitioning through puberty without adequate guidance on puberty and menses management, and pursuing education in environments that lack adequate facilities, supplies, and gender sensitivity. Girls have pragmatic and realistic recommendations for how to improve school environments, ideas that should be incorporated as effective methods for improving girls' academic experiences and their healthy transitions to womanhood.