In Rural Rajasthan, Period Shaming Is Putting Young Girls’ Health At Risk

Bharti Singh Chauhan
Posted December 4, 2017 from India
Conducting session in slums
Conducting session in slums (1/3)

As in many parts of India and other countries, in rural Rajasthan the myth that menstruation makes a woman impure persists strongly.

With much shame associated with periods, girls tend to use unhygienic practices such as drying the cloth pad and undergarments in atiny corner of the room, storing the pads in a filthy place or using a sanitary pad for longer hours than recommended. Explaining to them that bleeding every month is a natural process like any other bodily process is slowly bringing behavioural changes.

Apart from health-related complications that can be caused by wrong information, it is also crushing girls’ confidence, when they think their bodies are ‘dirty’ and associated with something bad.

PraveenLata Sansthan (www.pls-ngo.org) an NGO based at Rajasthan isfighting the stigma of menstruation in rural Rajasthan. Almost a year ago,The Founder Bharti SIngh Chauhan started working to identify issues around girls and came up the three main issues CHild Marriage, Child ABuse and Menstruation and later builtto address myths about menstruation and the teaching of facts to Celebrate the Reddroplets rather thinking it to be a curse.

She was not surprised considering there is very little conversation on these issues even in very open platforms. Girls and women are shy in nature and dont take it seriously and still use dry mud, sand, Leaves,d irty clothes during those days because of not having access to safe sanitation and a guilt associated with it

“However, I was surprised to see so much shame associated with periods. There are many myths and misinformation among the girls, which lead to inappropriate practices and affect women’s health, As the stigma associated with menstruation is reinforcing the lower status of women in Rajasthan, Bharti through her organization has decided to work on spreading awareness on menstrual and reproductive education.“Women and girls should feel free to do what they want. Periods should not hold them back.” Hence her initiative SPOTLESS DAME - Celebrate the REddroplets is building a positive approach around Menstruation.

This year the organization has taken up an initiative to support 11000 girls & Women from rural villages through training on menstraution and providing sanitation support for a year.

For more details on the organization work

www.pls-ngo.org

www.facebook.com/praveenlatasansthan

Regards

Bharti Singh Chauhan

Founder & Chairperson

#100 Women Achievers of India

Comments 3

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Jill Langhus
Dec 04, 2017
Dec 04, 2017

Hi Bharti. Thanks for sharing this new initiative in rural Rajasthan as well as your NGO social media links. It's so sad that there is so much shame around this natural process, but I don't think even so-called "advanced" cultures are exempt from period shaming either. I think it exists in the U.S., too. I don't think girls/women necessarily feel dirty but I definitely think there is at the very least a fear of someone seeing blood on their pants, or being teased for being moody, or even buying tampons or pads at the store. While it may not be as extreme as rural Rajasthan, I still think it's unnecessary and sad. Hopefully in my lifetime this will turn around.

Olutosin
Dec 04, 2017
Dec 04, 2017

Beautiful.  This is a job well done.  I believe that when we continue to create awareness round it globally,  we will achieve our goal. 

Congratulations on your latest award. You are the best.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 04, 2017
Dec 04, 2017

Dear Bharti,

This is such good news. You are such an amazing leader, making beautiful changes happen for so many. 

With love in sisterhood,

Tam