At any given time, 800 million women, girls, non-binary people, and transgender men around the world are menstruating. Yet, menstruation is still a taboo topic and one cloaked in many myths, especially for those living in poverty.

While these myths might seem like they verge on the absurd, in some parts of the world, they have serious implications and consequences, setting behavioral restrictions, contributing to gender-based discrimination, barring people who menstruate from jobs and education, and holding back the fight for gender equality. In extreme cases, these myths can be fatal.

The belief that menstruation is dirty or shameful can also have damaging impacts on adolescents’ education, contributing to fears of participating in school activities, sports, or social events — and it’s a global issue.

In India, a staggering 23 million girls drop out of school early when they start menstruating. Missing days at school and getting left behind peers can lead to dropping out altogether, which puts many at greater risk of child marriage.

A core challenge in tackling period stigma is that menstrual health education is lacking in many regions of the world. But experts agree that part of the solution lies in demystifying periods at a grassroots level. Radha Paudel, founder of the charity Action Works Nepal, says: “It’s very simple. Menstruation is natural … and we need to deliver the scientific message.”

These are among the most common period myths still affecting menstruating people.

  1. Periods Are a 'Woman’s Issue'
  2. Periods Mean You’re Ready for Marriage
  3. Menstruating People Will Give Men 'Cooties'
  4. Menstrual Blood Can Be Used by Evil Spirits
  5. Menstruation Is a Disease
  6. Tampons Will Break Your Hymen and Take Your Virginity
  7. Sharks and Bears Will Attack You on Your Period

Read the full article about period myths at Global Citizen.