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Don’t Apologise For Your Period: Bold Art That Bashes Stigma Like A Boss!

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By YKA Staff:

On World Menstruation Hygiene Day, India along with the rest of the world is initiating a much-needed conversation that has been avoided for way too long. The stigma and shame associated with menstruation must be done away with for the women of this world to embrace and respect their bodies and without such a dialogue all talks of equality and empowerment will continue to be a half-hearted attempt.

To celebrate what has been hushed for so long, Menstrupedia set open their platform for people to share #PeriodPositive artwork on a public platform. Here’s a sneak peek at creativity that’s breaking the bias.

Submitted by Nasmina MP, director of I-LAB from Calicut, India


Submitted by Debadarshinee Mohapatra. Debadarshinee attributes the period positivity in her life to her menstrual cup. She believes that a lot of the women can feel the same if they would give menstrual cups a try. This one is for period sustainability!


Submitted by Debadarshinee Mohapatra. When I got my period for the first time, I literally didn’t know anything about it. Nobody told me what is it and why is it happening! Even my friends never shared anything related to menstruation.


Submitted by Medha Kulkarni
“When she bleeds the smells I know change colour. There is iron in her soul on those days. She smells like a gun.” ― Jeanette Winterson


Submitted by Feminism in India

Submitted by Jeejivisha Kale. I have seen the kind of faces people make when I tell them the actual reason for my discomfort or the actual thing I am going to get from my bag or the store.
Many come up with responses like, ‘I am cool with it but others might not be. You need to keep it down!’ To those and the others. I say, this…


Submitted by The Ladies Finger.


Here’s a poster from Parinda Gandevikar putting matters into perspective. Why do we treat menstrual waste like it is radioactive material? Time to be more period positive and change how the world thinks about periods!


Submitted by Menstrupedia.


Submitted by Nomcebo Mkhaliphi from Swaziland, Southern Africa. “We bleed, We are Free, We are Normal And Healthy…. Be Period Positive. I am inspired by the red colour in the hope of destigmatizing menstruation and be Period Positive. For a very long time, I carried an internal shame and fear. Our girls should not suffer same. I would like to show the world that we can end the stigma, fear and beat the shame by joining hands and shouting out loud that we are happy, free, normal and healthy and we are Period Positive.”


Submitted by Palashi Vaghela and Aditi Gupta. “I am this blood. This blood is me. I will not be ashamed of who I am.” #periodpositive


Submitted by Meghan, founder of Shomota Women
“I live in a poor community in Kolkata. A lot of women use old rags and cloth for their period. They wash and then dry them in a dark corner in their rooms, leading to health problems. And all because they are ashamed to hang them outside. As we teach people how to use our cloth pads, hopefully, we are teaching them not to be ashamed, but to be period positive!”

Submitted by Shreeja Chakraborty. No shame, just pride. #Periodpositive

“I am inspired by the various spiritual portrayals of the Feminine Face of God. The blood that we shed every month, is nothing but a sign that we are made of love. It is love that manifests itself through our bodies, nurturing and sustaining the human race. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it is an honourable power given to us by the Almighty. To sum it up in one line, I believe that love is the main inspiration behind my poster.”


Submitted by Shreya Bagthariya.

My Cousin : Periods occur so that you can have a baby. It’s blood.
Me: I don’t want it when I grow up. I’m sure I shall not like it.
Mother: It’s a natural process and it will occur to you too gradually.
Me: Ok. Let’s see!

Later when I got my 1st period I was not scared or hateful towards it. I was kind of neutral as I got 3 days long free time to read all newspapers columns and magazines which my mother has gathered over period of many years to make me read when I grow up (it was very touching gift for me as I love reading – a box full of reading material. Such a bliss!). I would like to mark here that during those days in our joint family, we were not allowed to touch anything and asked to sleep on the floor in a separate room as My grandmother thought it spoils her worshiping to God. We (me and my Mom) stopped following this tradition when we started living separately since we felt it was a belief that didn’t make any sense.

In my early 20s and post-marriage, I used to get irritated due to heavy cramps and used to kind of wish if I can get my uterus removed (Honestly, at times I still do!). But, we all do so as menstruation is no easy thing to handle. Later, I realised that it’s a part of my essence, my existence. This is what makes me a Woman! OR as my husband says, this is what make all women Beautiful!
Thus, I have been positive about periods with changing time and changing menstruation management options.

Let’s celebrate us by honouring our essence and getting more open & positive about it!

Submitted by Kaanchi Chopra, Delhi. I believe that there is a lack of teaching about menstrual health in schools. Apart from that, it stuns me how many restrictions one is put under when one is on our period. Do not visit the temple, do not play, do not wear white, do not this, do not that. Friends in school are ashamed to take out pads from their bags because other people might see it. Women in localities carry pads in white polyethene so that the packets are hidden and no one views them. All of us need to realise that periods are a part of growing up, it enables our body to reproduce individuals and one should take pride in it. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about or be ashamed of. The people of our society should accept and embrace period positivity. More importantly, spreading awareness and information about the same should start in schools and homes from a young age.


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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