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Periods: A nuisance for some, life-limiting for others

By Nicole Hurtubise      

Nearly a billion women and girls don't have access to a clean, private toilet, cutting short their school and work opportunities.

Girls stand in front of a school toilet in Tanzania in 2006. When schools don't have toilets, girls are more likely to skip school when on their periods. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance photograph by Marni Sommer

OTTAWA—The subject is still so taboo, it’s rarely discussed. And yet every day, more than 800 million women and girls around the world have their periods. In countries like Canada, they put up with the pain and inconvenience, often wishing it were no longer a subject considered too embarrassing to discuss in public. But for women and girls in poor countries who don’t have access to sanitary products or appropriate education, menstruation can mean tremendous hardship. An estimated

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