#PeriodPaath: Looking Forward To An Informed Society

Editor’s Note: This post is an entry for the #Periodपाठ writing contest, a unique opportunity for you to write a letter and stand a chance of winning up to ₹30,000! The contest is organised by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC. Find out more here and submit your entry!

Good Evening Sir,

First of all I would like to thank YKA to have thought of reaching to the government on the topic which is a taboo and shame in the society till today. I believe with the letters that would come across to you would definitely ignite the government to think over such burning issue which each and every women/girl faces n daily basis.

This letter is coming to you from Chhattisgarh where I have witness various challenges associated with menstruation.  If we break the word “Menstruation” it has the “Men” in it, then why the men in our society are not given the knowledge on Menstruation. This is a very pity situation to witness in the in houses that the men’s only come to know about it when certain kind of restrictions are done with the girl, they are kept away from going to the mandir, kitchen, touch the pickle etc.. Even it is also said that the men’s should keep a distance from the bleeding girl/women at that time.

Why don’t the government start a program of educating the men of the society on Menstruation, when we are looking forward for a gender sensitive society, I believe that transforming the thoughts of the men’s along with women would be one of the immediate steps that is needed in the current scenarios. There is sheer lack of correct information within women too which I have felt, and I do not blame them for it, since such myths associated with Menstruation has been followed from generation to generations. Certain rituals are also observed when a girl hits puberty which gives a message to the community that she is now capable of child bearing, no one looks at the pain that the young girl is going through at that time.

I think there are couple of religions myths that needs to abolished because of which girls/women are restricted their mobility. It is time to think about the girl whose confidence is shattered every month upon which such customs and rituals and myths are forced upon her. Itwould be great if the government runs an awareness campaign which would deal in challenging the myths and making the society aware and informed on why Menstruation takes place and what kind of help or comfort could an individual give to the girl/women during that time.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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