#PeriodPaath: Menstruation Awareness

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!


Government representative of Vadodara,

Subject: An open letter demanding the hygienic conditions for menstruation in our community.

Respected sir,

I am writing an open letter to you. It is a concern with the mensuration hygiene conditions. As we live in a country where periods have been treated a kind of taboo. In fact, they don’t allow girls to enter in any kind of religious pilgrims during periods. People hate to get aware of these kinds of things. Thus they never talk or discuss these things. Unhygienic menstruation can lead to serious reproductive conditions like infection of the reproductive tract, urinary tract infection, yeast infections, cervical cancer and many more.

Irregular, painful, or heavy bleeding affects up to 14% of women of childbearing age.

Though today in the 21st century many things have improved. As many brands like Unilever are coming for the menstruation awareness. The urban area has improved but rural areas women are still struggling with these kinds of problems. As they are still uprooted with their old traditions and beliefs.

In a recent incident, villagers in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu are grieving the death of a 14-year-old girl who died in a cyclone after being forced to sleep separately because she was menstruating.

Girls who have attended the age of 12 must be given awareness of such kind of things. They should not feel ashamed of asking questions related to the periods.
According to the menstruation hygienic management (MHM), 90% of girls failed to meet the available criteria for adequate MHM, with no significant difference between those using reusable sanitary pads and those using existing methods, predominantly cloth. Aspects of MHM predicted some consequences including shame, not standing in class to answer questions and concerns about odour.

The government should conduct more research on rural areas, as girls over there are more shy to ask questions regarding these. Developing countries like India, Pakistan, in fact, Africa face a large number of unhygienic problems

I request the government to take serious steps regarding the menstruation conditions in our community. To distribute free hygienic sanitary pads. To promote and advertise and spread awareness through social media and other platforms too. To urge Companies to do more Corporate social responsibilities activities among the community.

Only a healthy woman can lead a future generation and further for the overall growth and development of the community.

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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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