The much talked about 'Padman' has released and social media was full of celebs posing with sanitary pads, thanks to the padman challenge, wonder how many actually were supporting the cause!
Anyways, this subject is a bold one, atleast for the Indian society, which treats it like a taboo. Indians hardly talk about menstruation openly but over the years, we have seen a change in society. A lot needs to be done but we need to ask ourselves first..do we truly know much about a menstrual cycle ? How many men know the facts about it? Are women of your area getting enough knowledge and facilities during their periods? Has the government helped us enough?
These are a few questions that come to our mind when we think of making it a movement. Leaving aside the entire country, let's just, for now, talk about Punjab. Punjab is a relatively developed state of India but not many of us are aware of these facts about our menstruation in our very own state!
1) Akali-BJP government did take some steps in this direction under a project called ‘Swastha Kanya Yojana’, which was supposed to cover every girl from Class 6 to 12, but the proposed budgetary allocation of Rs 24 crore for sanitary napkins was never passed.
2) Project ‘Amodini (happy girl child) Menstrual Health and Hygiene Programme’ on May 28, 2016 had a survey of 15 schools in Ludhiana in which they found that only 20% of the girls know about menstrual cycle, which was a shocking revelation.
3) To replace sanity pads with the age old use of a folded cloth as pad, project Amodini took and initiative to install pad-dispensing machines and incinerators in 14 government schools.
4) In a project, low-cost sanitary manufacturing units were set up at Faridkot, Ajnala and Amritsar. They also made adult diapers for the elderly with medical problems.
5) Under the same it was decided that girls would be provided three napkins a month without any cost. This was basically to increase the level of hygiene and reduce absenteeism from schools.
6) Girls were above 18 years of age were given training for making these napkins; and 20 girls made around 3000 napkins.
7) In Ludhiana, the district administration had installed sanitary napkin-vending machines in 28 schools two years ago with an aim to provide basic sanitation facilities to girl students.
8) Six government schools in the district are unable to avail the benefits of these machines as these have been lying defunct for several months.
9) Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) programme, which was launched 10 years ago, under National Rural Health Mission, the only central government scheme on menstrual health, has failed to take off in Punjab.
10) SEWA group of Renana Jhabvala and MP Ambika Soni have been approached by the DC Mohali, to get some funding for a menstrual hygiene project under which they will provide affordable and biodegradable pads.
We hope that schools teach menstrual health knowledge to every student. Private companies and government under their social responsibility should help in providing low cost sanitary napkins so that women and girls have a healthy period cycle.