Emotions in the way of progress

Even when we have access to sanitation facilities, and the hygiene products we need, stigma caused by taboos surrounding natural bodily functions can limit our ability to participate fully in society and live an active life. Securing investments to improve hygiene is therefore not enough. To fully realize the value of hygiene we must address and break down the emotional barriers to progress.

Smiling man (photo)

Negative perceptions of natural phenomena, such as menstruation and menopause or common conditions like incontinence, damage self-confidence and make it difficult to seek help for something that is seen as embarrassing or against societal norms, even if such help were to be both accessible and affordable. In this chapter, we look closer at some of the sensitivities surrounding personal hygiene and the norms that keep us from moving forward.