Menstruation and Education in Nepal

Last registered on January 28, 2015


Trial Information

General Information

Menstruation and Education in Nepal
Initial registration date
January 28, 2015

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 28, 2015, 12:59 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Policy-makers have cited menstruation and lack of sanitary products as barriers to girls’ schooling. We evaluate these claims using a randomized evaluation of sanitary products provision to girls in Nepal. We report two findings. First, menstruation has a very small impact on school attendance. We estimate that girls miss a total of 0.4 days in a 180 day school year. Second, improved sanitary technology has no effect on reducing this (small) gap. Girls who randomly received sanitary products were no less likely to miss school during their period. We can reject (at the 1 percent level) the claim that better menstruation products close the attendance gap.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Oster, Emily and Rebecca Thornton. 2015. "Menstruation and Education in Nepal." AEA RCT Registry. January 28.
Former Citation
Oster, Emily and Rebecca Thornton. 2015. "Menstruation and Education in Nepal." AEA RCT Registry. January 28.
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Experimental Details


Four schools in Chitwan, Nepal were identified and 60 seventh and eighth grade girls were invited, with their mothers to participate in this study, which aimed to measure the uptake and effect of sanitary products on school attendance, attainment, self-esteem and health among adolescent girls. Participation in the study was contingent on attendance at the first study meeting, at which time girls received pens and stickers, and mothers received 100 Nepali Rupees (US$1.45). Approximately 79 percent of girls participated with their mothers.

Prior to randomization, a baseline survey was administered to girls and their mothers that included questions on demographics, schooling, menstruation, and self-esteem. Researchers then randomized the allocation of a re-usable menstrual cup to girls and their mothers, and a nurse gave those in the treatment group detailed instructions on the use of the menstrual cup. Girls were also given diaries for each month where they were asked to record the dates of their period, time spent on daily activities, and school attendance and performance. After the initial meeting girls were followed for approximately 15 months, at the end of which, a follow-up survey was administered. At this time, comparison girls and their mothers were also given the menstrual cup.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
School attendance, educational attainment, product uptake.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study was run between November 2006 and January 2008 in four schools in Chitwan District, Nepal. We invited all seventh and eighth grade girls enrolled in four schools, along with their mothers, to a preliminary study meeting. One hundred ninety-eight girls attended the meeting and were enrolled in the study. At this meeting, we administered a baseline survey with questions on demographics, schooling, and menstruation. Girls were given a booklet of time diaries for each month. These diaries included a menstrual calendar on which they were to note the start and end date of their period in each month.

At the end of the initial meeting, a public lottery was carried out and 25 girls in each school were assigned to the treatment group. Treatment girls remained at the meeting, and they (and their mothers) were given a menstrual cup and instructions on how to use it. Time diaries and menstrual calendars were collected at each month from each girl. At the end of the study, a second meeting was held in each school. A follow-up survey, similar to the baseline survey, was administered, and the control girls and their mothers were given the menstrual cup. The sanitary technology we use is a menstrual cup, specifically the MoonCup brand cup (similar cups are sold under the name Keeper and Diva Cup).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was a public lottery in front of all of the mothers and girls, making it difficult to game the system.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
198 seventh and eighth grade girls
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
School 1: 54 girls
School 2: 48
School 3: 48
School 4: 48
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Michigan Health Sciences IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials