Ghanaian schoolgirls have been banned from crossing a river on Tuesdays, while they are menstruating.
Girls living in the Upper Denkyira East district in Ghana’s central region have been told they must not cross the River Ofin, which serves as a boundary with the Ashanti region, when they are on their periods.
The ban has supposedly been imposed by a powerful river god.
The directive, which also bars women from crossing the river on Tuesdays, has outraged human rights activists, who say that many girls will miss out on an education as they need to cross the river to get to school.
In 2004, hundreds of women could not vote in a by-election because it was held on a Tuesday.
Unicef’s menstrual hygiene ambassador Shamima Muslim Alhassan told the BBC that the ban violates girls’ rights to education.
“It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they?” she said. “Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”
One in ten girls in Ghana do not attend school because they are menstruating, according to Unicef.
The World Bank estimates that 11.5 million women in Ghana lack appropriate hygiene facilities.