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In many cases, Covid-19 has brought communities together, with people helping the needy by distributing food and groceries. But what about sanitary pads?
One day, I received a call from my domestic helper who told me that they didn’t have money to buy sanitary pads for their daughter because that was just not the priority at the moment. This made me think of how Rs.25 is a lot of money for some people and menstrual well-being isn’t an immediate priority for them.
I always knew that many women in rural areas don’t have access to menstrual hygiene supplies but after talking to a few women in local slums around my area, I realised that women in cities are using cloth strips as well. We live a privileged life which makes us think that everyone in cities uses sanitary napkins, but the reality is quite different.
I helped our domestic worker with some money, yet this led me to think about the large number of ladies like her who might not be able to follow menstrual cleanliness and use unsterilised cloth strips.
Later that day, I decided to raise a few thousands for slums in my area, but to my surprise I received a great response from everyone and raised around Rs.45,000 in just 4-5 days. I would also like to mention that 85% of my donors were male; it gave me immense happiness to see how men in our society are becoming open to talk about such issues and that they too consider menstrual health an important issue.
Even after receiving the funds, my main concern was executing the distribution. I was extremely upset when I didn’t receive any helping hand, so I planned the distribution single handedly with one of my male friends.
I started the distribution in local slums and we distributed around 1900 packs of sanitary napkins. During the donation drive, I experienced a lot of positive responses from many women. They were quite surprised to see someone distributing sanitary pads and asked me if I was selling them. I also received a lot of negative reactions; some women were too shy to take pads publicly and some said that they don’t want to use them. I was also asked by some men to get out of their area and stop this distribution. This makes me think of how menstrual health issues are still a taboo topic even in a metropolitan city.
I would like everybody to comprehend the need for menstrual hygiene and how clean and safe menstrual hygiene products are a need and not a luxury. According to some studies, only 18% of Indian women have access to menstrual hygiene. My goal is to make people aware about the importance of menstrual hygiene and prioritize the use of sanitary products.
I plan to keep distributing pads and spreading awareness about menstrual health, it’s a taboo we need to overcome now! Many women have infections or even die because people are not educated about menstrual health. We need more women to talk about their menstrual problems openly. Menstruation is a natural process and we shouldn’t shy away from talking about it.
In a country where talking about menstrual conditions is a taboo, let’s bring about the change that’s long overdue!
Image via Canva
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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