Gender discrimination in any form is the most intolerable thing for women. From ancient time, women are being victimized of various kinds of intolerance whether in home or in society. Along with the other problems, we are struggling against menstrual discrimination, even after many campaigns and social movement in India.
Living in a progressive world, it is very shameful that we are never ready to bring menstrual health into an open discussion. The menstrual cycle is a natural process intrinsically connected with a woman’s body. Days during periods are as normal as other days. Still many of us follow restrictions during menstrual cycles, whether it’s in our homes, our society or at any religious event. Still the freedom of women continues to be in the hands of dominant social power.
In many cultures, when girls get menarche, people consider it as a celebration in public. Though people celebrated it, they have an analytical view that a woman’s ultimate goal in life is reproduction. And now she is ready for it. Why we cannot accept that menstruation is a normal necessary biological function experienced by the female global population in the stage of puberty instead of taking it as a dirty secret all over the world? Until we are not open up about the silence around menstruation as a physical and mental well-being of girls; ignorance and shame attached to the menstruation cycle will continue to cause severe problems for girls. Women with unhealthy menstrual cycle, face the risk of getting severe reproductive tract infections, weakness, skin problem, anaemia and death.
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Because of the taboos surrounding menstruation or lack of health education, women are not aware to maintain hygiene during their menstrual cycle. This leads to fungal infections, reproductive tract infection, urinary infection and even makes you vulnerable to infertility. Dropped out of school girls after start menstruating is a very common problem in India.
Taboo around menstruation has started to be seen as a threat to health and many people are coming up to break this silence. With the emergence of health issues due to poor menstrual hygiene; several organisations, individuals and college girls have come up with innovative solutions.
Social media and news channels have contributed in opening up spaces for discussing over menstrual taboos and in spreading awareness. Educational programs are being implemented by governmental and non-governmental organizations in school and colleges to teach women about their menstrual health as well as teaching men that menstruation does not make women unclean or unable to perform normal tasks such as praying, studying, cooking and to do whatever they like to. It is very important to include male in awareness programmes so that we can break their mysterious mind about periods.
Through increasing education, awareness and promoting female empowerment about women’s health, we can hope that one day we would be able to remove menstruation taboos from our society. Most importantly all women have the right to enjoy a happy and healthy period.
As a responsible citizen of India, women should feel strong to ask for a sanitary pad in chemist shop. Mothers or elder sisters should guide the upcoming young girls about managing menstrual hygiene by discussing about it openly. Remember that it is not a disease. So do not try to make diseases out of it. More than taboos make sure that you have a hygienic period. It is a true blessing from God to womanhood. Because only a woman has the power to create another world inside her womb. So feel proud that you bleed.
– GITASREE GOSWAMI is a Ph.D research scholar of Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat.