Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hygein* (for Hygiene, etc.)

“Let’s talk about feminine hygiene.”  If this conversation opener makes you squirm, then you’re not alone.  But thanks to the work of organizations like WASH Advocates and WASH United (WASH stands for “water, sanitation, and hygiene”) and companies like Be Girl, Inc. and AFRIpads, the social justice aspect of feminine hygiene is getting some long-overdue attention.  In the developed world, the concern is often women who can’t afford feminine products, and solutions might include providing them free of charge or at least working to eliminate the sales tax on them.  But for the homeless or those in developing countries—who may lack access to feminine hygiene products and sanitary facilities entirely—the consequences are much more severe.  Women and girls the world over are kept from working, attending school, playing sports, and participating in many other daily activities we take for granted.   Added to that is the health risk.  Poor hygiene practices lead to infections and certain types of cancers. 

Fortunately, hygein* is not nearly so problematic in library catalogs.  There are 13 entries in the OhioLink database, and 255 in WorldCat.  Some of the latter are for non-English-language works, but you would probably want to have a look at those too, because a lot involve errors in subject heading strings.

(Amra Padatik India, celebrationof Menstrual Hygiene Day, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

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