Period Stigma Around the World Today

Despite increasing attention and advocacy, periods remain a taboo topic. Always, WASH United and Glocalities surveyed adults and young people from five countries to assess period stigma today.



Periods are associated with negative feelings from an early age, despite being a normal bodily function.

When getting their first period, young people feel:1

Scared 41%

Confused 38%

Embarrassed 34%

Icon-1

2 in 5 have felt ashamed or embarrassed by their own period.4

52%

Emoticon-1

of girls lose confidence at puberty 2 and starting their period marks the lowest point in confidence during their teenage years 3 .

Icon-2

3 in 5 have tried to hide the fact they’re on their period from those around them.4

Of the countries surveyed, negative feelings and period hiding are most prevalent in Russia, where it is deemed least socially acceptable to talk about being on your period.4

Chart-1

Circle-Blue

Felt ashamed/embarrassed about their period

Circle-White

Tried to hide their period

Period conversations are a challenge.

Less than half of adults say they support talking about periods4and far less actually do talk about them4.

Chart-2

Circle-Blue

Talk openly about periods

Circle-White

Support talking openly about periods

People feel more comfortable talking about other sensitive topics like sex, politics and family problems than they do about periods.4

% that feel comfortable talking about …

Canada-SP

China-SP

Russia-SP

UK-SP

USA-SP

When people talk about periods, it’s often done in a negative way.

1 in 3 have referred to period blood as gross or disgusting,
except for Russia, where the incidence is only 1 in 10.4

Chart-3

1 in 3

Emoticon-2

men say they have felt disgusted when hearing women talk about their period.4

While nearly 1 in 4 believe period jokes are harmless fun, young people say they make them feel:1

Self-conscious 42%

Embarrassed 35%

Less confident 26%

Period education is key, and moms and teachers are the most influential resources.1
But not everyone is prepared to teach their kids about periods.4

Source-Periods

54% of adults feel they have enough knowledge to talk to their children about puberty and periods.

Chart-4

>%

The higher the % of society that talks openly about periods, the more prepared people feel to talk about periods with their children (correlation 0.4).

You Can Help End Period Stigma!

Icon-Educate

GET EDUCATED
about periods.

Icon-Comfortable

GET COMFORTABLE
TALKING

about periods.

Icon-Advocate

ADVOCATE
for period friendly legislation
(e.g. mandatory puberty
education).

Icon-Support

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
by joining the Menstruation
Bracelet Action this #MHDay.
Learn more here.

For more information, please visit always.com or contact Charlotte Le Flufy (leflufy.c@pg.com).

Logo-Wash-United
Logo-Always
Logo-Glocalities

1SurveyMonkey, 2020. Quantitative survey of young people 13–21 yrs in Canada, UK, US. n=4,147.

2Research Now, 2017. Quantitative survey of females 16–24 yrs in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Turkey, UK, US. n=9,289.

3Research Now, 2014. Quantitative survey of females 16–24 yrs in US. n=1,300.

4 Glocalities, 2020. Quantitative survey of adults 18–70 yrs in Canada, China, Russia, UK, US. n=5,139.

5Glocalities, 2019. Quantitative survey of adults 18–70 yrs, Global. n=30,057.

For both Glocalities studies: Data is nationally representative with respect to age (18–70) by gender, region and education (low & mid-levels of education are combined for China only).

Despite increasing attention and advocacy, periods remain a taboo topic. Always, WASH United and Glocalities surveyed adults and young people from five countries to assess period stigma today.

Periods are associated with negative feelings from an early age, despite being a normal bodily function.

When getting their first period, young people feel:1

Scared 41%

Confused 38%

Embarrassed 34%

52%

Emoticon-1

of girls lose confidence at puberty 2 and starting their period marks the lowest point in confidence during their teenage years 3 .

Icon-1

2 in 5 have felt ashamed or embarrassed by their own period.4

Icon-2

3 in 5 have tried to hide the fact they’re on their period from those around them.4

Of the countries surveyed, negative feelings and period hiding are most prevalent in Russia, where it is deemed least socially acceptable to talk about being on your period.4

Chart-1

Circle-Blue

Felt ashamed/embarrassed about their period

Circle-White

Tried to hide their period

Period conversations are a challenge.

Less than half of adults say they support talking about periods5and far less actually do talk about them4.

Chart-2

Circle-Blue

Talk openly about periods

Circle-White

Support talking openly about periods

People feel more comfortable talking about other sensitive topics like sex, politics and family problems than they do about periods.4

% that feel comfortable talking about …

Canada-SP

China-SP

Russia-SP

UK-SP

USA-SP

When people talk about periods, it’s often done in a negative way.

1 in 3 have referred to period blood as gross or disgusting,
except for Russia, where the incidence is only 1 in 10.4

Chart-3

1 in 3

Emoticon-2

men say they have felt disgusted when hearing women talk about their period.4

While nearly 1 in 4 believe period jokes are harmless fun, young people say they make them feel:1

Self-conscious 42%

Embarrassed 35%

Less confident 26%

Period education is key, and moms and teachers are the most influential resources.1
But not everyone is prepared to teach their kids about periods.4

Source-Periods

54% of adults feel they have enough knowledge to talk to their children about puberty and periods.

Chart-4

>%

The higher the % of society that talks openly about periods, the more prepared people feel to talk about periods with their children (correlation 0.4).

You Can Help End Period Stigma!

Icon-Educate

GET EDUCATED
about periods.

Icon-Comfortable

GET COMFORTABLE
TALKING

about periods.

Icon-Advocate

ADVOCATE
for period friendly legislation
(e.g. mandatory puberty
education).

Icon-Support

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
by joining the Menstruation
Bracelet Action this #MHDay.
Learn more here.

For more information, please visit always.com or contact Charlotte Le Flufy (leflufy.c@pg.com).

Logo-Wash-United
Logo-Always
Logo-Glocalities

1SurveyMonkey, 2020. Quantitative survey of young people 13–21 yrs in Canada, UK, US. n=4,147.

2Research Now, 2017. Quantitative survey of females 16–24 yrs in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Turkey, UK, US. n=9,289.

3Research Now, 2014. Quantitative survey of females 16–24 yrs in US. n=1,300.

4 Glocalities, 2020. Quantitative survey of adults 18–70 yrs in Canada, China, Russia, UK, US. n=5,139.

5Glocalities, 2019. Quantitative survey of adults 18–70 yrs, Global. n=30,057.

For both Glocalities studies: Data is nationally representative with respect to age (18–70) by gender, region and education (low & mid-levels of education are combined for China only).