For an average period of 40 years, every woman experience period on a monthly basis. A powerful yet sad message by Stayfree starts with “Do you look forward to your periods?” While all privileged urban women said ‘no’, women belonging to a different section of the society said ‘yes’.
For women in the sex trade, their secret to happiness is when they are on their periods. They are happy to bleed as it is their source of happiness as they get the day off and it means no business and only leisure time.
And during this period of periods, Stayfree found an opportunity to give these women a better life. Watch this video to know how and what they are doing:
According to a National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16, about 57.6 percent of the Indian women use sanitary napkins and 62 percent women in the age group 15-24 years still rely on a cloth during periods.
When a girl comes across her period for the first time, there is a signal from communities towards the families. The transition is more of a cultural alarm for the girl- to leave behind the experimental childhood and get ready to take their responsibilities as a wife and mother.
It is very important for every woman to know and understand the changes their body is going through.
Why is menstruation a hushed topic across the world?
When teachers decide to step away due to the awkwardness surrounding periods; and girls are taught separately about menstruation and using pads in the class, the other gender (read boys) remain clueless about periods while growing up. Further, ironically this gives rise to the belief system that bleeding is shameful and menstruation is to be ashamed of.
Menstruation is associated with weakness and that is when the all-round development of a woman gets affected. Is it fair for a woman to feel weaker because of her natural needs? It is only through education, we get the power to create a positive shift in the society and the women need to understand that while they are on their period, it doesn’t make them any less than their male counterparts.
Menstrual health in women
We need to understand that it is women who are paying the price due to the shame, silence, and discretion surrounding periods.
It is sad that how cultures, tradition, and communities teach a woman to be ashamed of their periods and to be discreet about it from other women as well. The conditioning by the society is such that a woman feels ashamed while going to buy the supplies from the stores.
Not just that, there are place limitations for women in developing countries like India and Nepal. A woman while on her period is not allowed to go to temples, conduct or be a part of any spiritual activity, touch the utensils in the kitchen and the list can go on. In some indigenous communities, a woman is sent to a menstruating hut where she is barred from all kind of comfort. Also, women in the rural belt of Africa, sit in cardboards while on their periods, calling it a “week of shame”.
We have seen what a woman can do with education and yet it is so unfortunate that in some places, due to poverty, women are forced to give sexual pleasures in exchange of a maxi pad or feminine supplies.
A survey revealed that the homeless population is more vulnerable to infections as they do not have access to supplies. Women in developing countries use rags, pieces of cloth, and toilet rolls during their periods- which at times can be fatal.
The state of menstruation health in women, around the world, needs to be checked very closely. There is a global effort taking place to curb the stigma behind menstruation.
Women cannot grow to their full potential unless they do not cater to their natural needs, consider it to be a taboo and feel ashamed, practice discretion because society taught them to do that for decades. The issue is not restricted to particular gender but it is hindering the global development.
It will only take a mindful thinking and the power of language to stop period shaming today.
Stating the obvious, we all come from a mother. So, don’t you think we all love someone who menstruates? Think!