Menstruation is a normal body process for any woman who is alive. It is also a process, which forms a part of her reproductory system. Even though this is a normal body function, which every woman undergoes every 28 days. We have ensured as a society that we do not pass on the right information but create a lot of misunderstandings and superstitions around the same. Be it any festival or any good occassion, we ensure that a menstruating woman is kept aloof. The topic is still a hush hush discussion.
In the midst of all this, we have someone like Shewings, who have taken the initiative to work towards Menstrual Hygiene, break the myths and spread happiness in genuine sense. Let us have a small chat with Harshita Bharadwaj, CMO, SheWings, to know how SheWings, has taken a step to eradicate Period Poverty.
Can you tell us about Shewings ?
The reason behind or the story behind the name is to give wings to women/girls. We spread awareness about Menstrual Hygiene and ask women to be open about it as it is nothing to be ashamed of or hide. The Founders behind this organisation are Harshita Bhardwaj (Chief Marketing Officer, SheWings) and Madan Mohit Bhardwaj (Founder, SheWings), Shivendra Pandey, Chief Planning Officer.
Can you tell a bit about yourself?
I have a background in Fashion Designing and had been working in Marketing and PR for 7 years now. Mohit is a Journalist, who has worked for Tehelka, NDTV, India TV for over 10 years. Shivendra has worked for NIC Media as News Editor for over 2 years.
What is the present state of menstrual health in India ?
Since only 12% of menstruating Indian Women use sanitary napkins, question has never raised upon what happens to the rest 88%. ‘We are fighting to make sanitary pads accessible to every woman’.
Also the other major issue that has been faced by women across India, is how to dispose sanitary pads.‘We also educate women about the right way to dispose pads’.- Last but not the least is the quality of pads that are produced or imported in India. The advertisements which claim day-long protection that women are misleading the women about the duration for which it is safe to use one pad. Ideally they should change a sanitary napkin after every 5-6 hours, to avoid various infections.
What is the role of shewings in changing menstrual health in India? SheWings is dedicated towards eradicating Period Poverty and educating people on Periods (how to use the sanitary Pads,how to dispose of the sanitary pads). We are actively working towards ensuring every women has the access to basic sanitary amenities.
A large amount of men are unaware about menstruation and its related problems, how do you plan to resolve this problem?
We are planning to conduct educational camps where we talk about Periods to create the awareness.
How do you plan to use technology to make people aware about these issues?
We are planning on utilising social media to its best capacity in the near future to reach out to maximum women across the country.
What is the right age to tell your children about menstruation ?
Honestly, whenever you can talk about it is the right age. Generally, girls start their periods at around 11 or 12. It differs for every girl. It’s advisable to talk about it before the periods start so that they are mentally prepared then they experience it.
How can parents have a health discussion around this topic with their children ?
It is very important to normalise the topic and not make it sound like its something thats a “shush” topic. It would be best if both the parents can sit and talk about it. Fathers role in normalising the topic would be a very healthy addition while discussing this topic. Try to make sure that you dont wrap the childs head around with superstitions or conditioning which have no basis.
Even today, women are kept aloof from the society during periods. How can we break this taboo?
By talking about it more and normalising it. Being vocal and accepting it as something that happens is the first step.
A woman irrespective of her financial background bleeds for 5 days a month. How does having good support system like pads or menstrual cups make it better ?
It makes a huge difference. When we use good quality pads or menstrual cups which give us comfort and doesn’t add to our worry in this existing hectic world. Women have to deal with the pain, but they dont have to and should not deal with discomfort. Its their basic right.
Tell us about your pad distribution campaign.
We have 8 villages and 2 schools where we go and distribute pads very month without fail from the donations we get. We believe in consistency, hence we are not taking up any more schools or villages right now till the time we have sufficient funds to do something for them every month.
Any way in which women can participate.
Absolutely! I feel its extremely important for women to start being more vocal about it and not be ashamed about it. You are not “cursed” or you are not an untouchable when its THAT TIME OF THE MONTH.
So This Diwali along with Lakshmi Pooja let us all take a step towards eradicating Period Poverty. If you would like to donate a pad you can contact them on the details provided below.
Following are the links to our social media-
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