The MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) issue is not progressing adequately or seeing enough success, even though we have so many NGOs working in this field. Have you ever wondered, why it is so?
Ever thought; what are the top gaps in our society that are causing us to lag far behind, in the race for women empowerment? I think it’s easy and very specific to guess. Well, you can pause while reading this article and try to guess, while we continue the story ahead.
Okay, so the biggest reason for the failure of any policy in our Indian context is the lack of political will and administrative skill to deal with the confronting issues. We, as a nation, fail terribly at these two fronts in every sphere, so it is obvious our MHM fight is also suffering from these evils.
That being said, let’s understand where it exactly fits into our story. The role of the above-mentioned two pillars of powerful forces, comes into play, on the very first step of our issue; which is addressing the lack of MHM and sanitation facilities as a genuine problem. No major political party has come up with a manifesto iterating their clear stand on the MHM agenda. Why?
It is high time that parties should understand not only the will of the people but also the needs of the population. And the foremost need is for better education and health opportunities. MHM needs a political dimension in order to become a mass movement. Half of the vote-bank is in the women’s community, therefore, even for a populist measure, parties should have thought about including it in their agenda. But why haven’t they thought of it?
Where does our role come into the picture? As citizens, we have to raise our voices on this issue, not by forcing the government to come out with rule-books but sensitising all political players to care about MHM. We have to demand their attention (but peacefully) in order to initiate the supply side chain of better results.
Developmental spheres, such as women’s education, women’s health, period poverty, and so many other dimensions are a part of this cause. I wonder, how can our politicians ignore all of this, even if they are just concerned about vote bank politics?
If our politicians can come up with mammoth plans for the economic revival of the nation, then this is a very basic issue for them. Why is there provision for the MHM component, related to women, in any of the “Sankalp or Wahetever Patra” these parties come out with? Do they not consider women’s health as important as the health of the nation’s defence or economic sector?
Now, coming to the second pillar; it has been observed that any pompous MHM scheme does not do the work, if the officers and the authorities, do not show the will to implement it themselves. The policies are sacrosanct and they should be followed not only in letter but also in spirit. But why are our administrators not sensitive enough towards the cause? That’s the question our government should enquire about, before ordering the installation of numerous sanitary pad disposal machines.
It is not just about coming up with the framework, rather, the work rests on the perfect execution of the scheme. Unfortunately, in our country, there is an absence of efficient and effective implementation.
These are the sole reasons which lead to tardy execution of schemes at the ground level. Why do rural women or NGOs working in the MHM field still have to hear only one response from officials – that this issue is not important, and it only affects women; why should others think about it? For how long will this gameplay continue?
*Feature image is representational.