Menstruation is still considered a taboo in India and people have little or no knowledge on the topic. This has resulted in the development of myths around the issue. Let’s break the taboo around menstruation and its myths together by educating ourselves with health knowledge.
We are in 2020 and have witnessed a giant leap of science and technology in India and the world but Menstrual taboos and Menstruation-related myths in India still prevails. Women are still considered impure during their periods and are subjected to social, religious, and cultural restrictions. The taboo about menstruation present in our society has severe impacts on girl’s and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle, and most importantly their health. Only 55% of young girls in India think menstruation as a natural process and only 23% know that the blood comes from the uterus.
Menstruation related myths in India:
- In many parts of India, it is still considered as dirty and impure. Women are prohibited from doing their chores, during their periods. Like they cannot enter the room where religious idols are placed, they cannot cook food and are not allowed to enter the kitchen, they are prohibited to offer prayers and touch holy books. These menstrual taboos in religions and cultures are weighing us down.
- There is a Period Taboo in India where girls are considered unhygienic during their menstrual cycle and are not touched.
- Another myth is present because of our patriarchal society is that women can impose their will on men by using their menstrual blood.
- In some cultures, women bury their used clothes during periods to soak blood and protect them from the evil spirits.
- In an incident, girls were asked to open their clothes to check if they were on periods or not in a school because that school asked such girls not to come to school while on their monthly menstrual cycle.
Impact of these myths on women life:
- In rural areas, 23% of girls have listed menstruation as the main reason for dropping out of school during periods because they lack clean and affordable protection. This happens with the female teachers too.
- Issues related to menstruation are taboos in conservative Indian society and are not discussed openly which endangers lives.
- Poverty and lack of awareness of health issues push them closer towards death as they are prone to infection while bleeding.
- Many parents in villages think that once girls get periods they are ready for marriage and this promotes child marriages which further is dangerous for girl’s health and affects her education.
- Millions of women still lack basic and affordable menstrual products to manage their bleeding and are forced to seek alternatives like old rags and newspapers which causes infections and sometimes it can be deadly also.
Strategies to combat Menstruation related myths in India
- An issue that affects millions & millions of women in India isn’t given the importance that it should be given. The first and foremost strategy towards this issue is raising awareness among adolescent girls related to menstrual health and hygiene. Young girls often grow up with limited or no knowledge of menstruation because their mother and other women shy away from discussing the issue with them and even in schools also there is a lack of education about this.
- Adults too lack knowledge on menstrual cycle especially in the remote areas, as a result, they pass on cultural taboo and restrictions to be absorbed. They also need proper health knowledge which can be done by community-based health campaigns which the government is promoting through all their means.
- Empowering women through education and increasing their role in decision making can also aid in this regard. In the Anganwadis of rural areas, Asha and primary health workers can play a major role in awareness programs. They can disseminate their knowledge in the community and bust the taboo around menstruation & its myths.
- Education of women can play a major role in improving the health status of our community at large and overcoming the cultural taboo in particular.
- In awareness programs through tv and radio in rural areas, well-known women celebrities and actors can play a major role in promoting health knowledge.
- Affordable sanitary pads can be locally made and distributed, particularly in rural and slum areas as there is a lack of such affordable menstrual products.
Menstruation is a natural process and it is important to completely remove the taboo around it to promote gender equality and women’s rights. All women require affordable menstrual products for their health and hygiene. We at Generic Plus Pharmacy care about their needs and we offer affordable menstrual products like sanitary pads and sanitary napkins, of top quality and urges everyone to create an awareness of sanitary napkins around you.