Menstruation is not optional.

Posted by Shivangi Choubey
February 5, 2018

I was just going through Google to learn more about periods and what Menstrual Hygiene program does the Government plan to provide for half of the country’s population. You see Phones really are useful devices. Coming back to the point, I learnt a few things I would like to share here.

Everybody in India is aware of the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Obviously, it is one of the greatest things that has been done after Demonetisation. It is more of a ‘One Nation, One Tax’ kind of thing. The products are taxed 0, 5, 8, 12, 18, 28 percentage according to their productions and sales. I am a little weak at this. Please forgive me.

Apparently, the Sanitary Napkins or Pads have been kept in the ‘Luxurious Items’ category. Yes ladies, that means you give your blood, your health and your money for an involuntary biological process for about 40 years of your life. Just for a little information here, Bangles, and bindis are ‘tax-free’ in the GST pattern.
According to what I read in an article, the sanitary napkins were earlier taxed 6% with a 5% VAT. But, remind you, the VAT was State specific and it was not even applied in many of the states. So, the tax on the Sanitary Napkins practically went from 6% to 12%.

The Sanitary Napkins cost more than an affordable price for a Middle class woman. It is advisable that a woman changes her Sanitary pad at least three times a day to avoid any kind of infection and discomfort. That just means that a normal menstruating woman must need 12-15 Sanitary Napkins every month.
And that, my friend if you are a boy I tell you, is really expensive.
In this case, many women fail to buy sanitary napkins and turn to old clothes and even rags. Most of the women in rural areas of India, use clothes that they wash and use again. I can imagine how unhygienic that can be! In India, due to lack of proper Menstrual hygiene and sanitary facilities, women suffer from major reproductive and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).
Lack of facilities in Schools and complete ignorance of the authority over such a grave issue, like the Unavailability of sanitary napkins in schools and nearby areas, and proper toilets; leads to the absence and dropouts of many female students upon hitting puberty.

The government when bragging about the Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan, forgot about half of it’s voters and their hygiene issues. The Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan aims at building proper sanitation facilities across the country and Women Menstrual hygiene must be a part of the ideology; Failing which, the government dilutes the Swachchh Bharat ideology.

In the end, I would just ask everyone to speak up for the women out there who bleed; for the girl sitting at the last bench of the 9th standard with blood flowing out of her and her helpless school bag that fails to stop the red. Stand up for your mothers and sisters and wives and friends.

We do not have an option to not bleed. All we can do is to bleed safe.