#PeriodPaath: “Let’s Break the Conspiracy of Menstruation”

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To

The Hon’ble Minister

Department of Education

Telangana State

Sub: to Break the Conspiracy of Menstruation-seeking your attention & immediate Initiation-Reg. 

At the outset, I want to bring in your attention to the above cited subject by submitting a few realities about how the menstruation is being seen as a women’s issue rather than the social/society issue?

To begin with, for billions of women and girls worldwide, menstruation is a monthly reality. Yet in many countries, people still face serious challenges when it comes to managing their periods. Myths, stigma and harmful gender norms around menstruation exacerbate the difficulties for girls and women across the world.

If not properly managed, menstruation can interrupt daily life. Adolescents especially experience extremely painful periods which can affect their attendance and performance at school. A lack of adequate facilities and materials, restrictions on girls’ movements during their period and feeling ashamed or ‘unclean’ also contribute to girls skipping school.

Taboos, myths and shame surrounding menstruation can lead to teasing, shaming and exclusion from daily activities and have a negative effect on girls’ feelings of dignity.

Menstruation Can Affect Overall development of Girls

Education: Girls may miss the school due to lack of facilities and Necessary supplies

Health: Girls may suffer with reproductive health issues due to unhygienic practices

Participation: Girls may be restrict their proactive participation in curricular and co-curricular activities due to discomfort, pain during the period

Dignity: Girls may be feel discomfort, endure teasing and shaming, nd face exclusion from daily activities. Hence, they loose confidence, self-respect and self-esteem

Due to a lack of facilities at school, girls often prefer to manage menstruation at home, meaning they are unable to participate in cultural, educational, social activities. Poor practices and unsafe materials compound this problem. In addition, many girls lack access to safe and hygienic materials. They report drying menstrual cloths in private and dark locations, which does not guarantee the elimination of germs. In fact, inadequate cleaning and drying of materials is a major cause of infection. Where women use disposable materials, they usually dispose of them open spaces leading to environmental pollution.

One of the most significant barriers for girls is the social restrictions, beliefs and myths that influence the management of menstruation and, as a result, affect the daily lives of girls. When menstruating, women and girls are subjected to various religious, food-related, domestic prohibitions, which often lead to further isolation or stigmatization.

Finally, perceptions of menstruation affect how many cultures perceive girls. Starting to menstruate is often viewed as a sign of maturity, meaning girls have reached a potentially marriageable age. Yet early marriage significantly increases the risk of child pregnancy, repeated pregnancy without adequate birth spacing, and complications such as obstetric fistula.

Despite the veil of secrecy shrouding menstruation, menstrual hygiene management provides a powerful entry point to empower women and girls, dispel myths, change practices and remove restrictions. In fact, all participants in our studies were eager to discuss menstruation. They asked a wide range of questions about sexual and reproductive health and early pregnancy, highlighting the need for comprehensive sexuality education. It is especially imperative that adolescent girls be able to access correct, basic information before they have their first period.

Given this brief, I would like to make a few recommendations which can bring positive change among the girls in how they perceive the menstruation and how it can affect their life more dignified and empowered.

  1. As cited in the above brief, Menstruation should be looked at a Societal/Social issue rather than girls’/Women’s issue. So, need to educate the children (both boys and girls) from a very young age about the menstrual cycle and menstrual health, hygiene management. This could be done in parent teachers meetings
  2. Moreover, the issues during menstruation should be well taught to the parents (fathers and mothers) to enable them to closely assist their girls during the time for overcoming the challenges.
  3. Menstruation friendly facilities should be in place in all the schools such as keeping Sanitary napkins bank, sufficient water in toilets, rest rooms and on to arrest the irregularity and dropout rate
  4. Insulator facility in all the schools with proper training for safe disposal of the sanitary napkins
  5. Biological science teachers were capacitated well on addressing menstrual health & Hygiene issues & assign the job to assist the girls whenever the needed help
  6. To break the conspiracy of Menstruation, include the session on Menstruation in the teacher training manual
  7. Also, to make this a societal issue, the school compound may be displayed/painted with menstrual related pictures and posters through which we can break the secrecy and shaming around this
  8. At least one government facilitated help line can be initiated at the district administration to from where girls can access the information to clarify their doubts, myths, misconceptions around menstruation. If needed, the help line may also provide individual mentoring to the identified girls who are under risk

Having submitted the above recommendations, I trust you also would be convinced with the situations how the menstruation is affecting overall development of girls and need to take up an immediate action against this.

As you are a very action-oriented minister in the state, who always welcome the filed realities to address upon; I on behalf of lakhs of girls in the state would expect immediate and favorable execution in all the Government schools of the state.

Looking forward to break the conspiracy of menstruation,

Thanking You,

 

Yours Sincerely

(Saritha Gangaraju)

Sr. Programme associate

Room to Read India Trust

Telangana State

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