#PeriodPaath: We Bleed Since That’s Our Identity

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!

To,

The Muncipal Commissioner

Cuttack Muncipal Corporation

Odisha-753010

Sub: Right to menstrual Hygiene is every woman’s birth right

Dear Sir,

Menstruation is a common biological phenomenon among all woman. However, before heading towards the issue, i would like to brief about few things with regard to menstruation. Public health is your duty and our right. Menstrual hygiene is an inevitable part of menstrual cycle which is no where given the importance which it ought to get.

Women after attaining puberty, lack information regarding menstruation. Its their own body yet they are told to act like as if it’s a disgusting thing which creates a burden for themselves as well s their families. The taboo following menstruation is so common that it is a part and parcel of every woman’s life and those who dared to go against the norms are treated as untouchables. That’s where the issue lies normalized behaviour towards taboo and superstition.

When is the education system be enough graded to uplift the basic condition of the woman? This is a accepted fact that woman fighting for their own rights majorly become targeted victims of societal degradation leading to failure of the ultimate goal. When are the men going to acknowledge their sensitivity towards the biological disruption on-going in woman’s life?

Hygiene comes at a later stage, first of all majority of woman fail to have information regarding menstruation until they have one and even after, that they just ill-logically follow their mothers, who themselves are victims of taboos.

When it comes to second issue, it is the hygiene or we can tell the awareness about hygiene. Half of them are not aware, or even if they are aware they cannot afford the costly hygiene products. Where are we heading to progress, when the women’s health is not a part of public health especially when it comes to menstruation. We tend to normalize the taboo where as  we ought normalize the process and tell, the women it’s absolutely okay to bleed and continue your normal life as per your feasibility. But actually, onset of menstruation calls for not cooking, not entering the house or temple, or even asked to stay secluded away from the house in a different room or place.

Untouchability is banned in India, however women do not belong to that criteria so laws go silent when such practices over-power the laws in India. These all mentally and physically affect a woman, but these are never talked about when public health policies are discussed. All we do is bring on a cheaper pads that to bad in quality and in the name of women welfare, distribute it . Even that is un-affordable by many and those continue with old practices.

Periods is not about sanitary pads, ya it is an integral part of the cycle but everything. And, that’s what the law-makers and authorities fooling the women to show that they do owe a sense of responsibility ought to understand.

Yes, it’s education and making things affordable and reachable for the masses to acknowledge the fact that in every state a woman is pure as equal as men, whether they bleed or not. Education does not taking a degree, it’s about inculcating and igniting the minds not to follow the practices blindly, instead consult a doctor for every woman within the sphere of reach, on attaining the age of puberty.

Since, Sir, you have been able to hold on to position of authority, you can start this change of awareness. Had it been a condition of men, this society had flaunted it as a symbol of man-hood and such struggles would not have been even discussed. Even before maternity life, the stage of menstruation enters a woman’s life which equally needs care and protection of her womanhood to have a disease free life.

Let’s take a step to ignite the minds of men to be sensitive first that the issue exists and should be eradicated. Every means of awareness to be used to reach out to men as well as women to accept the issue of ignorance towards menstruation and step ahead for a hygienic womanhood. The agencies and the factors used and helped in eradication of small-pox and polio, similarly reaching out to lower scale of society in the similar way , will sooner or latter eradicate the society of this issue.

Being a girl student, I know the periodic torture and tension that I go through so I wrote this letter to you believing that it is better late than never and it is high time for  a change. Issues are lot more Sir and I can go on and on but as per my research the root of the issue lies in the Awareness and Sensitivity of Men towards it, and thus, that’s where the process of eradication must start off with.  BLEEDING IS NATURE’S GIFT TO MANKIND:SO,HEY MAN TREAT IT WITH DIGNITY.

Yours faithfully,

susmita rath

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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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