Every year, on May 28 Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed that is not only to highlight the importance of the day but also observed to spread wide awareness among women to accept it as naturally as the phenomenon is. Menstruation is a condition where women bleed from 5 to 7 days when the egg is not fertilized by sperm in her body. Related to this condition, many women face problems like stomach ache, nausea, and back ache, unhygienic places cause serious problems leading to various infections. Amongst all these health problems, women manage to carry themselves with utter grace all around these days as well. However, the darkest part of menstruation is, there are various parts around the world where menstruation is considered to be a taboo and women subject themselves to unhealthy conditions and myths that lead to serious problems for them.
In 2016, a study was conducted by “Menstrual Hygiene management among adolescent girls in India: a systematic review and meta-analysis by van Eijk” that brought out some shocking facts revealing that how Indian women still feel ashamed of talking about their menstruation cycle or even feel ashamed of using the word “period” in public. Menstruation has been given different names like “period”, “date”, “chums”, “down”, “busy time of month” etc. However, all of these names still face a taboo in the public. The facts produced by the study are:
45% of women consider menstruation to be an abnormal condition in the body. On the onset of menstruation i.e. menarche at the age of puberty, girls find something odd happening to them which leads to serious issues. In such cases when women themselves are not aware about its cause, they don’t educate their daughters which lead into such large percentage of women considering this to be abnormal. 70% of women feel periods to be dirty which is extremely sorrowful because if mothers will consider menstruation to be dirty then they will carry forward the same ideology to their daughters itself. In a study it has been revealed that in some parts of India, mothers tell their daughters that when they are on their periods they are dirty so they don’t have to go out from home or even it is still observed that a woman on her period is asked to sleep out of the house which makes the girl sense that it is something which makes them impure. Around 24% of females still sit separately from other family members during their periods. While talking about impurity, it is an often saying in India that don’t go the temple or don’t touch religious objects for periods are impure and so does the pious religious objects will get impure by their touch. It is very saddening that even most of the educated females also believe in the ideology and lead to a shocking 77% who believe that they can’t visit a place of worship.
Another myth about being on period is not to work in the kitchen. The women while being on their period are not allowed to enter the kitchen for according to the myth the food gets spoiled and impure when they touch while being on their menstruation. It is not a matter of surprise as around 50% believe that they can’t touch special foods during menstruation. It is often heard that a pickle will spoil if touched while menstruating or sweets are not meant to be touched by the female during that time.
Around 24% of girls miss their school when being on their menstrual cycle and many drop out. In recent times, government and various non-govt. organizations are heading and paving the strong paths for educating girls about menstrual health in schools, providing free or low cost sanitary pads at public areas, sanitary pad disposal machines, free sanitary pads in schools, sanitary pad making centers in villages that educates women about its use and essentiality but despite of this, the study revealed that only 45% of women use sanitary pads , while 50% women use cloth during menstruation and shockingly 6% of women have no access to menstrual products, not even the cloth.
These facts reveal that there is a huge need of proper education and awareness that guide women about menstruation, what it is, why and how it occurs, everything! So, they understand it is not a curse or abnormality, it is a natural phenomenon gifted to women for they have the courage and strength to bear a baby that men have not been gifted with. Around 45% of girls remain unaware about what menstruation is before they get their first period which is not a good sign. Mothers should educate the daughter in a proper way so that she doesn’t deviate from it and do not move onto wrong paths to adopt for its hygiene.
This time the theme is: “It’s time for action” which means that it’s the time when women should get aware about it and also help educating the ones who are not. It not only calls women but also men to be in action. Men should also be made aware about this phenomenon so that they do not make it a taboo for her. It is universal and must be accepted as naturally by men as the phenomenon is! Men can also educate others and help women feel comfortable during her menstrual cycle and care for her in her menstrual sickness, for real empowerment lies in equally educating men and women about everything. Change lies within you and with smaller changes we can bring up a change and can help many girls by educating them and providing good sanitary pad facilities to every nook and corner of the country.
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