While there have been many articles written about the fact that women in rural areas still don’t have access to basic products such as Sanitary Napkins or tampons (i am sure they would have never even heard about these products). It is not completely true that women working or living in the urban areas are much better off. There are a few problems that we ourselves face such as;
- Lack of Washroom – While Mumbai is the city of dreams, one thing that it certainly lacks is Clean Washroom. During your period days, the washroom becomes one place where you wish to stay longer. It is also important to change your Sanitary Napkins once in every 4 to 6 hours and one would look out for a clean washroom. There are still some buildings in the city, wherein the washrooms are either not built or were never maintained. Unless a woman has purchased an office in a building, it is difficult to have a personal ladies washroom. Neither do public places such as Bus Depots or Railway Platforms have good washrooms, wherein a woman can go and change.
- Expensive Sanitary Pads – Sanitary Napkins are still an expensive product for many in the city. Even though companies have started making Sanitary Napkins which are available for around 25 Rs. for a packet of 10, it is still very expensive for some women and they refuse to use such products.
- Accessing the limited washroom – While Metropolitan Cities are still more modern and not that reserved compared to the rural area but there are some difficulties that women here still face. In cities it is common for men and women to sit together and have a coffee or work till late night together but sometimes it gets really akward while going to the washroom with your handbag (yes, we have ultra thin napkins now). While some male collegues may understand and give you your space, some just interrogate you on why one needs to carry a hand bag to the washroom 4 times a day.
- Long working hours / Travel Time – A city youngster irrespective of the gender works for an average of 6 to 8 hours and travels for a minimum of 2 hours. Considering, the heat, pollution, traffic and unavailability of clean washrooms even in decent hotels only adds up to the misery of women. Not every hotel or every mall has a clean washroom, where a woman can visit.
- Lifestyle diseases – Due to the hectic and fast lifestyle, many women in Urban India face issues like PCOD and PCOS at an early age but still are not aware about the same. While in school, sex education covers only the basics of reproductive systems and how a child is conceived, it skips important topics such as PCOD and PCOS. Many a times girls as young as 18 suffer from PCOD and PCOS due to life stylein the urban city, but due to lack of knowledge about these diseases, they ignore this fact and which in future leads to difficulty in conceiving.
- Early puberty and Menopause – Again due to the hectic and demanding lifestyle in the city, Children as early as 7 and 8 are getting their periods and women are also getting their menopause by the age of 30.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle – Junk Food and the hectic lifestyle leads to obesity, which also plays a major role in the menstrual cycle of a woman’s body. Many a times. women in order to attend a pooja at home take medicines to either pre -pone or post pone their periods. While taking these tablets the women may not realise that they are interrupting the natural cycle, which has been set by the body. Excessive intake of these pills lead to obseity, mood swings and other hormonal imbalances, which are ignored in the earlier stages. While, a doctor may prescribe such medicines in case of emergency but some girls and women take it on regular basis just to attend functions. God does not mind a woman in her periods coming to his temple but he is surely upset to see that his most beautiful child is harming herself to please him.
- Peer Pressure – Earlier women were not allowed in the kitchen during the first 5 days of periods because the kitchen work during those days was very strenuous for the women. Women were not permitted to go to temples because a lot of temples would be far away from the house and women those days would fast and do pooja for atleast a couple of hours, for a woman who is on her period sometimes may find it difficult to sit for even more than 15 minutes. Though today the women may not have that streneous work compared to the olden days in the kitchen but the work at the office is equally hectic. Sometimes, even when the body demands to rest, women ignore it due to peer pressure to survive. A lot women post marriage are not able to conceive due to nothing but stress. Peer pressure to succeed causes also leads to infertility. If our ancestors had made some rules they were because there were some scientific reasons for it, it is just that in the transition everyone forgot to tell us the importance behind the rules.
Your menstrual cycle is not something you need to be ashamed of, it is a sign of happy woman hood.
Your menstrual cycle indicates that We women have the capability to give birth to another human being.
I still remember the quote, which my biology professor had quoted during the lecture on reproduction.
“A uterus cries blood because it could not produce a baby.” This is how some literary person defined periods.
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