Last week, to break the stigma around menstruation and promote period positivity, Pantone has unveiled a new shade of red inspired by the colour of women’s periods, as part of a new campaign to end the stigma associated with menstruation. This colour seeks to normalize and break the taboos that people have when talking about the menstrual cycle.
Also, this year corporate offices in India have started granting menstrual leave as well. Clearly, there are various progressive steps taken especially this year.
However, we have a long road ahead of us since, in India, approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.
National Family Health Survey, NFHS 2015-16 conducted in 2016, stated that the number of women using hygienic means of managing menstruation in India were at 78% in urban areas, 48% in rural areas and 58% overall. These stats clearly state that women in rural areas do not have access to hygienic (and affordable) pads and other menstrual essentials. (Courtesy: The Logical Indian)
Therefore, we decided to celebrate World Menstrual Hygiene Day in May 2019 with the women of Sakipur village by differentiating the hygienic and safe methods from the harmful ones. With the team of Sharda Hospital and Girikon Pvt. Ltd., our members held an open discussion around the taboo and myths surrounding menstruation. We had doctors on-site to explain how to identify the symptoms of menstruation-related problems and use hygienic products like pads instead of clothes and other unhygienic materials.
While interacting with the women, we noticed that they were too shy to share their thoughts and experiences even in their female fraternity. Some of those who decided to share their experiences revealed the myths in their communities around periods.
One last fact that proved the taboo around periods is that men still shy away from this important topic as all the men in the village moved away from the venue awkwardly.