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Why Is Menstruation Considered Impure?

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Menstruation is a phenomenon that is unique to women. It starts with the onset of puberty and ends when she is 45-50.

Let’s first see, what is menstruation? Menstruation is a biological phenomenon that results in shedding of blood and vessels from the vagina. This is often called ‘periods’.They typically last for 2-5 days and varies for the individual.

Commonly called ‘periods’, it arrives at the age of 10-16 for girls and brings hundreds of taboos and myths to her life and excludes her from being free to make and live her life.

The first restriction to that little girl is to hide her menses from her family and the external world. From the same day she starts menstruating, she is made to keep it a big secret to everyone, especially males, that she is bleeding,’ don’t know why’.

At many houses, menstruating girls are restricted from various activities, such as visiting religious places, entering kitchens, touching something or someone. Just think of her self esteem when her menses are welcomed in such a manner every month. That period would definitely be no less than a nightmare, where she is disrespected so brutally.

At many interior areas, girls have to survive just on water and no food is given to her. At many interior places in the world, women are not even allowed to stay in houses. They have to stay with cattle in the shed every month for 4-5 days. She is considered impure and is prohibited from touching holy and religious books. Also, the food she prepares is considered contaminated and impure.

At many places, she has to wash all her clothes, bedsheet and other products she used during her menstrual times even if they are not bloodstained. The biggest of all taboos is, menstruation is a woman’s personal issue, that should not be discussed publicly. However, it should be known to all that menstruation is a human issue that each and every person living on this land should be aware of.

Menstruating women and her products are considered impure, and she is just made to sit in a single room for full 4-5 days, isolated from the whole world. It is considered that menstruation limits the physical and mental abilities of a woman. In short, she is considered to be weaker after she starts menstruating. This stupid idea of society and disregarding comments about menses badly affects the physical and emotional state of a woman, excluding her from certain roles and positions of leadership.

Many places lack sanitation facilities, and women use old rags to manage their blood flow. The women are even not allowed to dry that bloodstained rags in the sunshine. Hence they hide it wet after washing. After multiple washes, the rags get coarse and often cause rashes and infection in the uterus lining of women.

Many rural girls have to leave their schooling just because they start menstruating and lack sanitary infrastructure in schools. This means, something as natural as breathing impacts the whole life of a girl so brutally.

A girl in a community in ‘Pune’ was asked, in which school does she go? She replied, “I don’t go to a school as I am cursed by the god.” When her father was asked the same question, he replied, “In our community, girls are not sent to the school after they start menstruating, because they are cursed.” This is such a sick idea and needs to be changed.

In Rajasthan, 15 years old Priyanka Meena sleeps outside her home, covered by a saree, when she has her periods. She wears the same clothes and uses the same utensils when she menstruates; her clothes and utensils are considered unclean and are not accepted inside the house even if her periods are over. This is the biggest misfortune of our world that most people involved in following such taboos are older women. The older women make the young girls follow such stupid rules, that make no sense in today’s world.

Menstruation is still considered impure. Something as simple as breathing is termed as impure, but why? If menstruation, out of which the whole human race is born, is considered impure, then the whole human race impure. Menstruation is healthy and not at all impure. It is also the process of purification of toxins from a female body. Hence, it is absolutely good to menstruate, without following stupid myths and taboos of society.

As the young people of the nation, we have the responsibility and ability to remove such myths from our society. We all know the scientific reason for menstruation is related to the biological changes occurring during puberty. As literate youngsters can change such stupid myths, taboos, and beliefs about menstruation. No matter if you are a boy or a girl, you should be aware of a female’s menstrual cycle. We are the only one who can transform this society full of taboos and myths to a logical and female respecting community.

We have to build up a society where every woman feels free and comfortable to talk about menstruation publicly to anyone. Even today we hesitate to talk about menstruation in public, but this is not our fault, we learned this from our society to keep the menses a big secret. So, everything that is a myth and taboo in our society need to be removed today!


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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