Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day. So let’s take this opportunity to do away with the stigma attached to this natural process. Young girls often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation because their mothers and other women shy away from discussing the issue with them.
According to a report by UnicefMHM, only 13% of the girls are aware of menstruation before their first period. And only 16% of the girls use sanitary napkins
There has been an increased momentum from donors, governments, and the private sector to address menstrual health issues. And the focus to date has largely been on products and more recently on improving awareness, especially among girls.
Here are five women working to debunk menstrual myths:-
Urmila Chanam from Manipur is the founder of ‘Breaking the Silence’ initiative. This initiative is a global campaign aimed to end myths, taboos and stigma around menstruation and bring awareness on menstrual hygiene. She says that the most important goal is for the government to include a chapter on ‘Menstrual Hygiene Education’ in school curriculum. It should not just be mandatory but also be taught to both girls and boys.
Brinda Nagarajan, a former business analyst from Bengaluru, has been trekking to some of Uttarakhand’s remotest villages since 2016. She meets the local women and conduct workshops to increase awareness about menstruation.
Brinda says that it has been a challenge to adjust in the difficult life in the mountains. But nothing stops her from continuing her mission
Apart from conducting workshops, Brinda aims to provide all girls with low-cost, 100 per cent biodegradable sanitary pads.
Soumya Dabriwal and Nitisha Sethia
Soumya Dabriwal from Delhi and Nitisha Sethia from Kolkata are the women behind ‘Project Baala’. It is one of the few initiatives today that aims at spreading awareness about menstruation in rural schools along with providing rural women and girls with environment-friendly sanitary pads. Project Baala has been travelling to villages across India with their menstruation and sanitation workshops. So far, they have covered the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and hope to cover the entire country. The pads provided by Project Baala are re-usable and can be used for a period of 1.5 to 2 years.
Aditi Gupta, a social entrepreneur and the author of Menstrupedia Comic, has become a voice of change in the society through her efforts to educate young girls in small towns and cities. Menstrupedia is an online guide to periods where myths and misunderstandings surrounding menstruation are shattered. A passout from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Aditi says she wanted to address this issue in the most fun and entertaining way, by using technology, music, comics and media.
Dr. Surbhi Singh
Dr. Surbhi Singh leads the team of Sacchi Saheli, a Delhi-based NGO that arranges sessions on menstrual awareness in various slums in the city. They have come up with a campaign called ‘Break the Bloody Taboo’ where they regularly interact with girls. Dr. Surbhi’s primary objective is to break all stereotypes and the myths girls have about menstruation. She is trying to come up with the right techniques and methods to address young girls.
We highly appreciate these women for coming out with strategies to combat all myths surrounding menstruation.
Since lessons on menstruation are imparted to girls by their mothers, they also pass on superstition, stigma, and fear surrounding the natural bodily process. These women are also educating the mothers through their initiatives
We salute these women and wish them all the best in their endeavours.
Malvika Bansal is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv