The pandemic has been an eye opener for all of us, from the security that our jobs provide to the underlying privilege we have in being able to afford basic necessities. But one problem that is yet to be brought into light is a global issue which affects more than half the population of the world - menstruation.
WHAT IS PERIOD POVERTY?
The term period poverty refers to the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual health and hygiene education, toilets, hand-washing facilities and/or waste management. This issue has been debated globally.
There is a need to bring awareness about this issue, as it affects the lives of millions of women in our country. A woman's period is not something that should be considered 'shameful' or 'dirty', but instead, it should be accepted as a natural process and something that happens regularly to all women.
WHY EDUCATION ON MENSTRUAL HEALTH & HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT
In India, the problem of period poverty is very acute. A large number of women and girls do not have access to sanitary products and are forced to use rags, ashes and leaves during their periods.
It is a problem because it affects women’s dignity and education. It can lead to health problems and has been linked to reproductive tract infections, anaemia, cervical cancer and even death. In addition, menstruation is also associated with psychological distress including anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. It also affects their self-confidence as they cannot go out in the open during those days of the month due to stigma attached with menstruation.
In India alone over 300 million women have no access to sanitary products due to lack of affordability or availability. This means that every month these women and girls are forced to stay home from school or work during their periods because they do not have the resources necessary for managing this natural bodily function effectively." This impacts their education level and future employment prospects.
LACK OF ACCESS TO SANITARY PRODUCTS
There are a number of reasons why women cannot afford sanitary products in India. These include low income levels, high prices of pads, lack of awareness about menstrual cups, etc. though they are much more economical as well as eco-friendly.
The Indian government provides sanitary pads for free, but they are of poor quality and often not available in shops. Women are forced to use cloths instead, which can be unhygienic, leading to infections or rashes.
HOW IMASAFE IS FIGHTING PERIOD POVERTY
Imasafe is committed to ending the stigma on menstrual hygiene, engaging individuals in raising awareness, and most importantly, channelling all efforts towards better menstruation accessibility and infrastructure for all menstruators across the country.
Till date, we have distributed 1000+ menstrual cups in villages and educated 3000+ women on the importance of menstrual hygiene.
There is a lot that we can do in our daily lives to help make periods less taboo. For example, we can talk more openly about periods with everyone around us and start viewing it as a regular part of life rather than something shameful or embarrassing.
Let’s celebrate periods and embrace them. They are an inseparable part of womanhood.
Jyoti Kumavat, Digital Marketing Officer