Men In MENstruation: What Happens When Men Take Menstrual Classes

Period Paath logoEditor’s Note: This article is a part of #Periodपाठ, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC, to highlight the need for better menstrual hygiene management among menstruating persons in India. Join the conversation to take action and demand change! The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.

About Satyam: Satyam is currently working as a Period Fellow with Sukhibhava Foundation. He is part of the second cohort of The Period Fellowship, which is supported by Capri Global Capital Limited and Grand Challenges Canada. The applications for the third cohort are now open. To apply, visit www.bit.ly/tpf-2020. To know more – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

 

Coming from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, India, Satyam Mishra carries the passion and grit to do something extraordinary. Proactive since his college days, Satyam has always pushed his boundaries to work in communities and build an inclusive society for himself and for others. He also founded an organisation called the Madatghar Welfare Society, which working for children’s welfare in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

On choosing The Period Fellowship, he says, “Sukhibhava works on the most sensitive topic — Menstruation, which people don’t talk about normally, private me baat karte hain (we only talk about Menstruation in private).” He has already worked on sexual reproductive health, which gives him the confidence to talk about menstruation with men. And that is how he became the first male period fellow who started facilitating conversations with men and adolescent boys on menstruation in the marginalised communities of Bhopal.

Currently, he is working in the slums of Piplani, specifically in Labour Colony. The community has more than 500 houses with a population of approximately 3,000. He mobilises men by starting a conversation with them about menstruation, and collaborates with schools to facilitate sessions with adolescent boys. He feels this is important because the communities he works in, even if we empower women around the issues of menstruation, the major household decisions around health and finances are taken by the men of the family.

It doesn’t seem easy to work in such communities where there are mostly daily wage labourers. Almost 80% of them have migrated from Chhattisgarh. The biggest challenge faced by him is to look for ways to mobilise men as they start as early at 9 am and come back late in the evening. He says that when he conducts sessions, he can see a positive impact. Every man wants to learn about the menstrual cycle and becomes curious when Satyam starts with the session. The participant’s expressions are full of curiosity, amusement and doubts. Through these sessions, they open up and sometimes ask personal questions related to their relationship with their wives.

He shared one story where a man came to him after his session and said, ”Thank you, sir. I didn’t know that my wife undergoes all these things during her periods, and carries it for more than seven days. So, based on what you have shared with me, I will definitely take her to the doctor for a check-up.”

Satyam says, going forward, he would like to share these stories to shift the narrative on how men perceive menstruation beyond low-income communities.

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