#PeriodPaath: Menstrual Awareness

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To

whom-so-ever it may concern

I am Ananya Choudhary. I am from Delhi Public School Indirapuram. It has been rightly said by Judy Grahn that “Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced. Yet in modern society, this is the most hidden blood, the one most rarely spoken of and almost never seen, except privately by women”.

As a girl I have attended many workshops about women’s safety, women’s rights and some even about menstrual cycles. A common thing is that they only have girls and women in them. I understand that this is a workshop for the awareness of women but what about men? Never have I ever seen boys attending any type of workshop. I believe that it is important for women to know about such matters but I also believe that it is important for boys to know the same. If you wonder why this is important, let me give you an example. Imagine a situation, you are a young girl in a metro. You are all alone, all of a sudden your period starts. What do you do? Another woman notices your distress. She provides you with a pad, you are thankful. Since, the woman was educated about menstruation she handled well. What would a boy do? An uneducated boy would have no idea because he was not taught how to handle the situation and thus, he would just watch unable to do anything. Hence, it is just as necessary to teach young boys the same.

Another thing that I believe is that boys should have workshops teaching them about their body, changes which occur during puberty and how to respect the bodies of others, especially girls. Next, I would like to discuss the topic of maintaining a clean body during periods:

  • Change your pad every 4 hours or as depending upon your flow. Not changing your pads for long hours can result to vaginal infections or rashes.
  • If you are using reusable pads then, make sure they are clean and preferably washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • Make sure your vaginal area is clean. Don’t worry about taking a few extra minutes to wash it whenever you go to the restroom.
  • Wear clean and comfortable underwear on your periods. Don’t wear any fancy or lacy underwear during your cycle.

An important thing to keep in mind is that start carrying pads, tampons or menstrual cups i.e. whatever you use from a few days before your period. Example if your period starts from the 6th or 7th day of the month, start carrying your materials from the 4th day of the month.

If your periods are irregular, then I recommend doing yoga or exercise. If your cycle is still irregular then, visit a gynaecologist and be free to share any problems that you are facing. Always remember that you are not the only girl having periods. There are millions of other girls with you. So, don’t be afraid to share you struggles or pain with others. I also have a few words to say for mother. If you have a boy or a girl, discuss their growth and puberty. Don’t be shy about talking about such things in front of your children. It is a normal thing and everyone goes through it. Make sure you support your children especially during their teenage years, when puberty hits them the hardest.

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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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