Sanitary napkin is a necessity for millions of women travellers in our country, and yet when a woman requested the Indians Railways to help her get one, she got trolled. ‘Don’t you have any shame?’ ‘Are Railway workers your servants?’ ‘Would you like them to provide you a condom as well, in case you get in the mood?’ ‘You need help because you suffer from entitlement syndrome.’ These are some of the comments the woman was bestowed with, just because she requested for assistance in procuring something as essential as a sanitary napkin. So it turns out that even in today’s day and age a woman can be shamed for her period.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • A woman traveller got trolled because she asked Indian Railways to provide her with a sanitary napkin.
  • Even in this day and age a woman’s periods can incur her shame.
  • Sanitary napkin is a basic necessity for women in the menstrual age bracket. They shouldn’t have to feel ashamed to need one.
  • Also, periods don’t always come on time, or women aren’t always able to predict their menstrual flow.

As the thought of using an Indian Railways pillow case as a substitute to a sanitary pad makes my innards squirm, I can’t help but wonder how oblivious are people in this society, to the period struggles of women?

The reason for outrage against this woman’s call for help is unclear. Some feel that she should have been prepared, didn’t she know her dates? Others feel that the passenger was entitled and treating Railway employees as her errand boys. Some also pointed out that she could have asked for a pillow casing, or used her dupatta instead of putting in a request for a pad on social media.  As the thought of using an Indian Railways pillow case as a substitute to a sanitary pad makes my innards squirm, I can’t help but wonder how oblivious are people in this society, to the period struggles of women? Do they seriously think that asking for a pad in times of need is entitlement? Or not forgetting to carry one is irresponsible?

Also Read: Period Is Not A Disease Or A Handicap: Shilpi Sahu, Marathoner

Every woman I know can recall an occasion or two when her periods came before the expected date, or when she forgot to pack a pad in a hurry, or simply failed to predict the period flow and didn’t have enough pads to last her through her journey or a day out of her house. It has happened with me on more than one occasion, and whenever I have reached out to other women for help, I have never been looked down upon or criticised. When you go asking for a pad in a public bathroom, to complete strangers, you can see that they understand. You can see concern in their eyes for you. They help you out if they can, or they’ll shrug apologetically. But so far I have been lucky or shall I say privileged enough to have never met a woman who would criticise me for not carrying a pad on me 24 X 7, like my wallet or keys or my phone (all things we tend to forget when we step out of the house, every once in a while.)

Pads are not a luxury item one should feel ashamed to be asking for. Also, women don’t want the Indian Railways to provide us with free pads. Perhaps it could install sanitary napkin dispensers in all trains.

Which makes one wonder, why is the tone of the conversation around procuring a pad so different on social media? This woman is being lamented by not just men, but women as well. Perhaps social media does make us apathetic to the plight of other people. Pads are not a luxury item one should feel ashamed to be asking for. Also, women don’t want the Indian Railways to provide us with free pads. Perhaps it could install sanitary napkin dispensers in all trains. Or just like you can purchase food and water, women can do the same for sanitary napkins, from railway vendors. This isn’t an unreasonable demand, as periods is something millions of women have to deal with on monthly basis, and often we have to cancel or alter our travel plans because of menstrual discomfort.

Sanitary napkins are a necessity for women in menstrual age bracket, and since science is yet to give us a device which could announce expected arrival of periods and predict period flow, the least we can expect is understanding and corporation from a public service which we use as frequently and regularly as the other gender.

Also Read: Viral Bali Hotel Video: Are Indians The Worst Travellers In The World?

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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