White School Uniforms and Development Theory: How Menstrual Hygiene Management Became an International Issue for Female Education Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • Khan, Sara
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Global Studies
  • Research Question: What are the principle agents that would focus on menstrual hygiene management as a key obstacle to female enrollment and educational achievement, over and above more structural/systemic issues like patriarchy, illiteracy, etc.? This paper will provide an analysis on the frameworks and foundations that allow certain health and social issues, like MHM, to gain traction and precedence in development discourse. Specifically, certain ideas become suitable topics for research and intervention because certain cultural assumptions and constructions of the developing world remain uncontested, like the West’s commonly held beliefs of the East as being poor, backward, and irrational . My hypothesis is that development discourse and feminist development theory provided the frameworks that created MHM as an issue and a discourse. Through analyzing the MHM literature and the principal authors of the movement, I will provide evidence of the assumptions within MHM as a discourse that frames adequate MHM as necessary and sufficient to maintain girls’ school enrollment. I will also provide a case study from my field work in Lahore, Pakistan, where I found evidence that even when needs regarding adequate MHM are met- girls continue to miss school. The purpose of my research is not to invalidate the MHM needs of girls around the world. If girls, mothers, and teachers state that schoolgirls need absorbents, functional toilets, and privacy so that they can handle their menstruation- that is completely valid, and they should be provided these resources. However, I want to deconstruct the idea that MHM interventions is a global, universal solution to the disparities within primary and secondary education between boys and girls in many parts of the world . We must be critical of the assumptions and values we ascribe to access to MHM that are either based on Western ideas or an unproven relationship to improved school enrollment. By understanding these assumptions and values, we will be better able to understand what girls really need for them to attend school, if obtaining an education is what they desire.
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  • Thompson, Amanda
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Highest Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 68

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