Menstrual hygiene in India is gaining prominence

Efforts by the media, sex education in schools and increasing exposure is leading to prominence in menstrual hygiene among women

Menstrual hygiene in India is gaining prominence

In an on-going campaign titled, ‘For Every Child’ by UNICEF, the organisation has picked up specific causes and is promoting them. Let’s take the case of the 21-year-old Reema Kumari, the face of menstrual hygiene for the on-going campaign. She is an aspiring singer and instructor on menstrual education.

Given that,Kumari has done  a lot being a peer instructor to not just expand Reema’s awareness and knowledge on menstruation-related issues, but also gave her the opportunity to give creative expression to her learning. An orientation in street theatre taught Reema, and other peer educators, to take socially-relevant messages learnt through the Garima Foundation, to a larger audience said the report by UNICEF.

“I had to deal with doubtful minds and myths regarding burning of menstrual absorbents (in incinerators). Even my own sister and mother did not spare me the cynicism, but my sound knowledge on the subject muffled, and eventually, silenced the doubtful voices,” said Reema Kumari to UNICEF.

Doctors say that menstrual hygiene is gaining prominence. “Across women of all classes or strata, awareness about hygiene is rising. Whether we talk about defecation or about using sanitary napkins, women are very cautious these days,” said Dr. Neeta Warty, consulting gynaecologist and practising obstetrician at Breach Candy Hospital. “This can be mainly because of the sex education in schools and increasing exposure due to media.”

What is the recent confusion about sanitary pads in India?

Sanitary pads have been spoken about recently due to the 12% tax on the same. In May 2017, an NGO had written a petition discussing about this issue. “Sanitary pads that are made using banana fibre or the ones that are biodegradable should not be charged. Basically, menstrual hygiene has to be affordable and accessible. I am hopeful that the taxes for sanitary pads will be looked into,” said Pravin Nikam, founder of Roshni, an NGO that works to promote menstrual hygiene.

In May 2017, Nikam had written to Arun Jaitley, the finance minister. “I am hopeful that our PM and central government will make sanitary napkins tax free, as it is an essential commodity,” he added.