Scotland Is Leading The Way In Ending Period Poverty. Is India Taking Note?

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.

This time, it’s wasn’t the US, India, or China making the headlines, but a tiny nation within the European domain that became the leading example in advancing the agenda of women empowerment.

Well, for those of you who are following the international news daily, you might already know that the country we are talking about is Scotland. It is set to become the first country to legislate on combating ‘period poverty.

A bill passed by the Scottish Parliament is set to make pads and tampons free. Representational image.

So, we hope to spread this news and ensure that it gets as much attention as possible, and that many countries follow the example set by the Scottish. Now, let’s understand what period poverty is.

Period poverty refers to “Having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.” Due to this, people who menstruate face many problems such as homelessness, violent relationships, and deteriorating health conditions like endometriosis. For a deeper understanding, visit this awesome page.

UNICEF had also reported that period poverty stops menstruating people from reaching their full potential that further impacts the economy and productivity of a nation. On average, a menstruating person menstruates for about 7 years during their lifetime, therefore the effective dealing of the period is a must-to-do task.

It has also been reported that 1 in 10 women can’t afford sanitary pads or tampons.

There is no conversation around menstrual cups, period panties, the phenomenon of white discharge. Why?Representational image.

Currently, our policies and awareness programs regarding Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) are running only around providing safe sanitary options, but they fail to deal with the gravity of problems created by the evils of period poverty. The idea is not to advocate any opinion against the running advertisements regarding sanitary products but we are worried that those ads are just covering the commercial aspect of the problem by glorifying the pads.

There is no conversation around menstrual cups, period panties, the phenomenon of white discharge. Why?

Its high time that India sets out its priority straight and brings legislation on MHM, on the lines of Scotland. The mentioned statute should encompass every aspect of menstruation, its taboos, and effective strategies and methods to deal with it.

Created by Right To Period

Do you think Indian ads should spell out more choices other than just PADS for period?
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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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