Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center, in partnership with the UP-CIFAL Philippines, will be holding a forum, "Bridging the Gender Health Gap: A Forum on Addressing Period Poverty in the Philippines" on 9 May 2024, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PH Time, GMT+8) at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Online registration is encouraged.


Gender is an essential determinant of access to healthcare. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2019 report shed light on how gender and power influence access to healthcare and services. The norms and power imbalances often result in unequal access to healthcare, with women and young girls facing barriers due to traditional and societal roles and limited decision-making power. Throughout the years, there have been improvements in addressing accessibility of gender-related health services. Despite the positive developments, women and young girls from developing countries are still not being reached.
In the Philippines, children, women, the elderly, and persons with disabilities bear the brunt of lacking access to health services (Peñalba, 2021). The lack of accessible and sanitary toilets alters the way young girls manage their menstrual health. Ellis et. al (2016) observed that young girls in school reduced their food and water intake to delay changing their menstrual pads until they went home because of unsafe and unhygienic toilets. Many women also experience the same in using public toilets because they are not well-maintained and left in dismal condition.
These unfortunate circumstances contribute to what is defined as period poverty: the lack of access to menstrual and hygiene products and inadequate access to basic sanitation services, facilities, and information about menstruation (Rossouw & Ross, 2021). Socio-cultural factors, such as taboos, social stigmas, and prejudices surrounding menstruation can exacerbate the health risks women and young girls face.
It is within this context of inaccessibility to menstrual products, education, and facilities by girls and women that UP-CIFAL Philippines conceived of holding the “Bridging the Gender Health Gap: A Forum on Addressing Period Poverty in the Philippines,” a forum that intends to delve deeper into the status of gender health inequity, particularly the presence of period poverty, in the Philippines. It aims to initiate important discourse about the presence of period poverty in the Philippines, particularly the integration of menstrual health management (MHM) in education curricula and mainstreaming MHM through policies and frameworks.
This forum essentially targets SDGs 3 & 5 on Good Health and Well-being and Gender Equality respectively as outlined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, it zeroes in on universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services (Target 3.7) and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (Target 5.6), both of which aim to address issues on period poverty.


Gianinna Czareena Chavez
CEO and Founder
We Bleed Red PH
Cleo Loque
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Hiraya Pilipina
Aiai Garcia
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Nala Woman
Maria Corazon Dumlao, MD, MPH
Chief Health Program Officer
Department of Education
Sen. Risa Hontiveros
Philippine Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family
Relations and Gender Equality
Dr. Sarah Marie S. Huyong
Municipal Health Officer
Local Government of Tangalan, Aklan
Dr. Marie Aubrey J. Villaceran
UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies

This event is organized by the UP Asian Center, UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, UPLB College of Development Communication Department of Science Communication, UPLB College of Human Ecology Department of Human and Family Development Studies, UPLB Gender Center, UPLB Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment, and We Bleed Red PH. It is sponsored by Cojo, Hiraya Pilipina, Nala Woman, and Sinaya Cup.
For inquiries, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 891-8500 loc. 3586.

The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.