According to a new report by the National Family Health Survey, 62 per cent of young women in the country use cloth for menstrual protection.
Women aged 15 to 24 use cloth during their periods. In Bihar, 82 per cent of the women on cloth during their period. In Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, the figure is 81 per cent.
42 per cent of young women use sanitary napkins, and 16 per cent use locally prepared napkins. In rural areas, only 48 per cent of women use sanitary napkins compared to 78 per cent in urban areas.
States where woman use the most hygienic methods of menstrual protection are Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Goa and Sikkim, 89 and 85 per cent of women use hygienic methods respectively.
Using cloth can lead to higher unitary tract infections.
Education leads to hygienic methods of protection
The report shows a direct link between education, wealth and hygienic methods of menstrual protection
“Women with 12 or more years of schooling are more than four times as likely to be using a hygienic method as women with no schooling at all. Similarly, women from the highest wealth quintile are more than four times as likely to use a hygienic method as women from the lowest wealth quintile,” the report said.
Pads are often too expensive for women. There is also a taboo about speaking about periods, and women are often too shy to ask for them.
Problems of using cloth
Cloth can lead to urinary tract infections. Most women are denied access to clean cloth and dry their menstrual cloth in corner areas and in damp nooks which lead to infections.
The percentage of girls who skip school during their periods in India is 24 per cent. This is because of taboos associated with periods, lack of toilets and water, and lack of access to proper methods of menstrual control.
Also Read: Periods Should Not Stop Women From Doing Anything: Radhika Apte