How I Did It: Creating Paradigm Shift In Our Society, Breaking Hidden Barriers
Since I was a teenager, I thought of this kind of embarrassment in buying pads from chemist or kirana (provision store) as a personal challenge — not a global one. The question to myself was: Why was that with me? —- The answer was always pointing towards – emotional disturbance, embarrassment, physical discomfort when at the store that is cultural discomfort. It’s kind of difficult to speak just one word of the brand in front of so many males (shopkeeper, helper and consumers) in a store.
These all are actually hidden barriers for me and so for other girls in buying pads from a physical store which I then figured out after talking to hundreds of girls.
The Taboo Subject
As a teen girl – Due to taboo nature of the topic I never discussed this with my friends or mother but when I crossed my 24th year I became open and asked them about their experience of buying sanitary pads every month. We shared same emotional status on every month’s date. Then, I wanted to reach more teen girls to know that if we all shared same flow of emotions every month? — when we realize that we have to get our pads for this month.
Why I Did What I Did
“To tap into these insights, I visited many girls hostels because I figured out that mass population of young girls were there and the problem is more prone to this age group.
Most of them said ” I never go to buy, my mumma gets for me -“My mumma gets when she gets a ration for the house “. Some said ” Sometimes I have to go when mummy is not around but that very moment is hard to pass, I don’t look up to shopkeeper it feels awkward”, ” that general store is of family friend its kind shameful to go in front of them at any other time what he might be thinking about me “, I stand out to wait for male consumers to go – and so on. (I realize this was the phase with me too at some point in life)
I got more ensured about the challenge by interacting one on one with more than 200 teen girls and got more convicted to bring a change. Girls on other end supported me by giving feedbacks and openly discussing this topic to end this discomfort and that led to the birth of the App (under development) for the teen girls. I believe we (me and my girls) are happiest to work for this mission because this will serve all the current teen girls and future girls who will come into this phase.
I look forward to eradicating the embarrassment days in buying sanitary pads from the lives of millions of teenagers in India.
“No more embarrassment “
Struggle times – fight back – dealt with situation and came out shining
During my hostel visits, I struggled with time clash between all hostels and that was manageable by taking interactive sessions with girls – few hostels on weekdays and few hostels on weekends but bigger than that were the situation of dealing with hostel rectors as few hostel rectors did not permit me to enter and interact with girls.
Somewhere there was lack of trust, when I tried to know deeper there were some historical incidences. My goal was to get to know more about the challenge faced by teen girls. So, in one hostel I took my sister who was the student in that hostel a few years back so through her reference I got in. In another hostel, I figure out which college girls stay there? So I went to meet them in their colleges. I remember I was literally sitting outside two hostels away from the main gate (haha) to talk to the girls because I was not given permission to enter and interact.
Interacting with every teen girl on one –on- one basis was/is important because at the end of the day I want to bring change for them so I have to know deeper — the challenges faced by them.
There are interesting times also “I would rather call grateful times” when few teenagers come out of their routine to help me in organizing and managing interactive sessions in their hostels and in other hostels too because they firmly believe in this mission and want to end this hidden barrier. In fact, Hostels that did not allow me to get in – those girls were extremely cooperative and have the willingness to solve this challenge through every kind of support.
“I am so grateful to all of them”
Why change is important
It’s been since decades teen girls are facing these hidden barriers and till decades it will go on as every teenager has to pass through this phase of her life once she hits puberty.
I believe we cannot ask society to change but we can definitely bring the change creating something and technology is such beautiful thing to do so.
So is the part of the challenge I have decided to bring comfort to teen girls of buying pads by harnessing tech forces.
How it changed me
It’s a wonderful journey of giving back to the community. As the world outside me has changed so does the world inside me.
“Now, I Introspect more, I observe more and I evaluate more …and I am sure I will learn many more wonderful things to which I am unknown “.
Add some practical advice from your journey for other women.
“It is important to define non-goals as much it is important to define goals, there is so much in this journey that we can easily end up doing things which are not meant for that day”
Shalvi B Gunani, 28 Interior Designer.
SheThePeople invites women to share their stories and journeys as a vibrant platform to give them a voice. The views expressed are author’s own.