There is so much talking about menstruation or periods but unfortunately it is still limited to elites. In reality period still is a taboo. Specially in rural India and between urban poor. Where in rural area females are compel to suffer during periods due to religious and patriarchal social conditionings while in urban poor females are suffering because of non education and unawareness.
Noorbano a 38 year old domestic help is suffering severe vaginal infection when asked she narrates she usually use cloth during periods but it always leave stains which is very embarrassing so she started using polythene with cloth and here became the trap. And she got this infection and now for 3 weeks she is on bed.
Sushila of a small village of Ghaziabad district narrates her story. She was a menorrhagia patient from her teens and cloth was never enough to cover her embarrassment caused by heavy bleeding. She started using ash between the layers of cloth and now she is getting treated for cancer.
Dr Lata Sharma HOD gynecology department of district hospital Noida said “we have more cases of infections and other vaginal problems and some time cancer than pregnancy ” she added ” most of women use cloth which is not clean and hygienic. Due to wetness and un-hygiene infection may occur; than they do home treatment. Due to embarrassment they don’t even share their problem until it is out of hand. Sometime other than cloth women use plastic, polythene, ash, brick, Which is actually morbid”
According to a study conducted in 2016, Eight of ten Indian girls are not allowed to enter religious shrines when they are on their period; six of ten girls said they are not allowed to touch food in the kitchen, and 3 of 10 are asked to sleep in a separate room.
That menstruation taboos still have firm roots in Indian society was revealed in a study by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
The study used data about 97,070 girls collected by 138 earlier studies on menstrual practices in India, between the years 2000 and 2015.
In 2015 government also issued guideline framework for menstruation hygiene under Swachcch Bharat Mission. It is indeed a welcome step that as a country with 355 million menstruating women, we finally at least have an official document that seeks to address the basic right of a healthy and dignified menstruation, an issue that has been completely ignored by the society and country thus far.
It also lays down indicators of success as not primarily those related to provision of infrastructure such as toilets, pads and incinerators, but considers development of life skills for girls and women to be able to access this infrastructure as important indicators — having adequate knowledge, feeling supported, and development of abilities to experience a guilt and shame free period is an important component of the guidelines.
However, menstrual health cannot be achieved only through governmental efforts without addressing it as a social issue, requiring interventions at societal, community and familial level. Menstruation being a natural biological process, an average woman bleeds for about seven years of her life span throughout her reproductive life. Despite this, even in this so-called scientific age and time, society pretends that menstruation does not exist.
Written By : Prakhya Srivastava