She covered the floral slim squared package, her heart racing ,afraid that someone would see her carrying it in school as she was on her way to the restroom. There was another who was too poor to afford anything and started using a torn rag she found in her room. Another girl working as a helper was too embarrassed to ask the meaning of the red stains on her cloth. These are just three examples representing millions of women which suffer through these situations, especially in rural and uneducated areas. For them the blood stains are as bad as a crime scene of a murder.
It’s hard to accept for some people that the monthly menstruation is as normal as the sun comes up in the morning. The discrimination against women is widespread in India, where periods have been a taboo and is considered impure. There are some funny myths hanging around in that air which are excluded from social and religious events, denied entry into the temples and shrines, on top of that they are kept out of kitchens. According to one study it shows that 71% of adolescent girls who are still unaware of mensuration until they get themselves, like I said before because I have that experience in real life. One of the girls who worked at my house didn’t even know what the red stain on clothes meant and my mom taught her how to use a sanitary napkin. These people are from uneducated backgrounds and the parents rarely prepare their daughters for something they know is bound to happen and this unpreparedness leads to much avoidable fear, anxiety and heap of embarrassment.
The difficulty of accessing sanitary pads is another spark in this electric problem. India scrapped a 12% tax sanitary products in 2018.Nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually after they start getting their period. There’s also fear of staining and worry about being mocked by their classmates. It is also seen that a large amount of women find that this natural process of this cycle as dirty, explaining why menstruating women are often ostracized from social and cultural activities and are forced to put up with all of the restrictions, in some areas they are not even allowed to sleep inside their house. The coronavirus is like cutting the wound deeper for the cost of these pads. But i think it’s time we realize and accept the hard core facts and make people aware of it. Mensuration is just a biological process and the secrecy surrounding it must go. It is important to normalize the mensuration and destroy taboos around this natural process.
To create awareness I even lead a campaign with my friends where we made sanitary napkins for the poor, uneducated women in rural and small villages. We used cotton and gauze to make these pads and distributed them because they weren’t able to afford it and used torn out rags, leaves or newspaper.
PS: All designs are by me.