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A country that could come up with a movie like PadMan is also the country that has barely any sanitary pad vending machines where we need them. Time to change?
In a country as vast and as diverse as India, as many as 48.2 percent of the population is women. A highly populated country, the youth forms a major chunk of the population. We are also a democracy where the ones in power are supposed to righteously work for us. Then why are our requirements not met? Why is it that our sense of health and hygiene is so broken down?
Have you even seen a sanitary napkin vending machine in a lot of public places! It is very piteous that a number of the railway stations in India don’t have sanitary pad vending machines. While, I appreciate the ones that have these, most of the places simply don’t.
Then, why not all the railway stations?
I remember when I was around 14, and I was having my second ever period so I didn’t expect to bleed beyond the third day. That day, we had to take a train at 5 am. And suddenly, I realised that I needed a sanitary napkin, indeed. No one around me had any. It was dawn, so there was no medical shop that would have come to my rescue.
All I remember is running around the platform, asking vendors where I maybe ‘probably’ find these napkins while also keeping an ear out for the train announcements. Finally, I found some napkins that were far from being usable. It was unhealthy and troublesome throughout the eight hour long journey.
What had I even asked for! For those in the back, sanitary napkins are not a luxury. We NEED them.
Given the trains we take at the weird times, the off-centre locations of the railway stations, it is imperative we have sanitary napkins accessible to all.
What am I requesting?
A basic necessity, an essential hygiene product of every woman. It is deplorable that even today, people stock up napkins into their luggage excessively. Just in case we don’t find them later.
Are we going into war-zones or dilapidated villages? Why don’t all the places that boast of technology, development and progress not reflect it?
We are on the brink of women achieving equality. And we proudly talk about smashing the glass ceilings and soaring free. We talk about women being given the centre-stage in all walks of life.
I just want to request the decision makers, the leaders to give some consideration to women’s health. Isn’t women’s hygiene an important enough an issue to be considered?
I just want to request you to mull over the vitality of menstrual hygiene and well-being. It isn’t too much to provide women the basic healthcare, is it?
I strongly believe that every public place where masses are expected gather should have sanitary napkin vending machines. Especially railway stations. In cases of emergency, women resort to using a cloth, which is as displeasing as it is unhygienic. I don’t need to elaborate the usefulness of sanitary napkins and how much we need them.
As a country, we need to start looking at periods in a sensible manner. Having a literacy rate of 74 percent will be of no use if we don’t have the basic knowledge and accessible hygiene.
The example I described above is ubiquitous. We have to take action and ask what we deserve. Else our daughters will ask us if we have four extra packets of napkins, just in case.
For all those who think it’ll be a female privilege, none of us feel so privileged during our periods. And for those who think this is too much, put yourself into my shoes on that winter morning.
Women need to take care of their hygiene and she takes care of her body . It is important for the people in the places of power understand the state of women in the country.
Together, we need to get people to understand the grievous situation we are in. If there is no one who empathises with us, let’s teach them to. We need to fight till every single railway station and public place has a sanitary napkin vending machine. We aren’t asking for something impossible, just something that is actually imperative to our health.
“Carry an extra packet. Stop fussing,” people will definitely say. And carry an extra packet, I will. But what about the days I may forget? Or one of those when I need more pads than I had anticipated? What about the girl who was planning on buying more so she only has money? Or what about the time when I lent the last one to another woman? What about the day when my period was not supposed to come but my uterus wanted to surprise me?
What will YOU do on these days?
Picture credits: Still from Hindi movie PadMan
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