INTRODUCTION: Period poverty is characterized as a lack of access to period hygiene tools and information, such as sanitary products, washing facilities, and waste management, among other things. Because of the scarcity of sanitary napkins, as well as the lack of washing facilities and waste disposal, this has become an expensive affair. The goal of the period poverty discussion is to start a discourse about how to minimize stigma and spread adequate menstrual knowledge.
Period poverty impacts women, girls, and menstruating people around the world. Anyone who menstruates needs access to menstrual products, as well as safe, sanitary venues to use them in. They also need the freedom to regulate their periods without shame or stigma.
Menstruation’s shame, silence, and ignorance effectively ignore the intersectionality of class, caste, and gender. Menstrual blood is traditionally portrayed as filthy, unclean, and impure, and is rigidly distinguished from other bodily fluids. The practice of everyday religious dogmatism facilitates this internalized taboo and, as a result, institutionalizes the legitimization of cultural shame around menstruation.
More than a third of girls in South Asia leave school during their periods, according to a new UNICEF and WaterAid report, owing to a lack of access to restrooms and pads in schools, as well as a lack of teaching about menstruation.
Menstrual products must be included in our daily vital commodities, and we must accept that bleeding every month is not a pleasant experience. The mandatory presence of vending machines in schools and public restrooms in the country will only be successful if adequate financing is provided for the continuous availability of sufficient resources, as well as monitoring of these advocacy efforts.
INDIA’S PERIOD POVERTY: Due to a lack of resources, India’s initiative to exclude sanitary napkins from service tax has not had a significant impact. Only 12% of menstruators in India have access to proper period products, according to research by the Indian Ministry of Health. The remaining 88 percent, on the other hand, are mostly reliant on hazardous materials such as rags, cloth, hay, sand, and ash as their only options. Infectious urogenital disorders such as urinary tract infection (UTI), bacterial vaginosis with skin irritation, vaginal itching, white and green discharge, and others are exposed as a result of this.
WHO IS AFFECTED: Menstrual health is not simply a female problem. According to UNICEF, 2.3 billion people worldwide lack basic sanitation services, and just 27% of individuals in poor countries have adequate handwashing facilities at home.
Girls with special needs and disabilities are disproportionately deprived of the facilities and resources necessary for effective menstrual hygiene. Women and girls find it more challenging to regulate their periods when they live in conflict-affected areas or in the aftermath of natural catastrophes.
WHY IS IT A PROBLEM: According to UNICEF, poor menstrual hygiene can lead to physical health problems and has been connected to reproductive and urinary tract infections. It also prevents women from attaining their full potential by denying them vital opportunities for development. Young girls who do not acquire an education are more likely to marry young, which can lead to early pregnancy, malnutrition, domestic violence, and pregnancy difficulties.
WHAT OCCURS WHEN MENSTRUATION IS NOT WELL MANAGED: If you do not have access to the correct menstrual supplies, you are more likely to get sick. Some studies reveal, for example, that reusable pads may not dry completely in high-humidity environments, potentially increasing the risk of infection.
As a result of social shame, loneliness, embarrassment, and inaccessibility of supplies, more than 40% of students in India miss school while menstruating. The lack of basic sanitation facilities across the country has ramifications for students skipping school. It is projected that one out of every five females will drop out of school once they begin their menstrual cycle. Young girls are exposed to physical health concerns from an early age as a result of such poor, unhealthy measures. Individuals’ sexual, reproductive, and mental health are also significantly impacted. The massive commercialization of India’s health system has inevitably excluded the requirements of a large portion of the population.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: People do not have an adequate understanding of what menstruation is and how important it is. Cloth pads, tampons, and menstruation cups, in addition to food and shelter, are essential necessities for women’s survival.
THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE PERIOD POVERTY:
1. Make talking about periods more normal.
2. Continue your research to have a clearer understanding of the problem’s extent.
3. Reduce the cost of menstrual pads, or make them free if possible.
“Sanitary pads that are priced highly, should be given away for free, whereas condoms that are priced so low, should be taxed appropriately in order to assist reduce population. After all, sex is a choice, whereas menstruation isn’t.”
CONCLUSION: Even an open conversation in schools is impossible due to taboos and superstitions in various nations, and around 71 percent of Indian girls are uninformed of menstruation before their first period.
The research urges government agencies and non-governmental organizations to step up their efforts to ensure basic sanitation. To solve this problem afflicting the country, the government should integrate menstrual hygiene management as part of its health policy and device plans.
Although films like PadMan and the #YesIBleed campaign sparked some interest in India, data show that 60 percent of adolescent females leave school due to menstruation, and about 80 percent still use homemade pads.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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