Cleansing in hidden spaces: the bathing needs of perimenopausal women

2017-10-12T08:37:21Z (GMT) by Amita Bhakta Brian Reed Julie Fisher
An increasing proportion of the world’s women will pass through the transition to menopause, or perimenopause, as the global population ages. Drawing on the experiences of perimenopausal women in Ghana, this paper highlights bathing as a hidden but important need which has been neglected by the WASH sector. Data gathered in two urban communities through participative methodologies reveal that increased bathing is a vital hygiene practice to manage various perimenopausal symptoms. Bathing experiences of perimenopausal women in Ghana are shaped by symptoms of ageing, and infrastructural, economic, social and environmental factors. Setting the bathing needs of perimenopausal women in the context of socio-cultural perspectives of bathing, this paper calls for an increased examination of bathing in the WASH sector, with an emphasis upon providing user friendly infrastructure through a gender-sensitive approach.