Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar
Mr. Harsh Vardhan
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
In India, there are around 355 million menstruating women. Hence, menstruation and menstrual hygiene are important social subjects.
A 2014 UNICEF report indicated that in Tamil Nadu, 79 per cent girls and women have no information about menstrual hygiene practices. This percentage was 66% in Uttar Pradesh, 56% in Rajasthan and 51% in West Bengal. Lack of awareness is a major problem which is caused because menstruation is still considered ‘dirty’, ‘a lady’s problem’ etc. despite us being in the twenty first century. Taboos surrounding menstruation add to this and lead to girls dropping out of school, isolation and ultimately to lack of sanitation.
Most of the women in rural India use items like leaves, soil and cloth to absorb period blood. These practices are unsanitary and unhygienic and increase chances of infection and other health hindrances.
From a ban on advertisements on sanitary napkins in 1990, to a feature film, Pad Man, on the life of social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, a low-cost sanitary napkin entrepreneur in 2018, India has indeed come a long way. The government has launched projects like Freeday Pad Scheme, the SABLA Programme and Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS).
However we still need to keep thriving towards creating a world in which every women and girl can manage her menstruation in a hygienic way whenever she is–in privacy, safety, and with dignity. Moreover sanitary products should be available, accessible and affordable to all.