Periods, by a man
I was brought up in a pretty “forward thinking” family. Growing up, there wasn’t much I heard about periods. In fact all I ever did was during the days my mum asked me to perform the prayers because “she couldn’t”. Now if that is the extent that a boy from one of the lesser percentage of India’s modern families knows then it is quite deplorable to think where the rest of the boys stand.
As I got older, I’ve learnt. I’ve learnt that it why it happens, I’ve learnt that it hurts, I’velearnt that the things girls whisper into the ears of the pharmacy guy are sanitary pads used for maintaining hygiene. What I also learnt, is that these pads are taxed.
India has a 20% drop out rate from school once girls reach puberty and this is definitely not what signifies progress in the country. Now one can scream as much as they want about what the SnapChat CEO said, but unless issues like these are fixed, what he may or may not have said will always hold true.
The rural portion of India, one, do not know about sanitary pads, two, cannot afford it. That is a shame. When a vast majority of your country does not have access to basic hygiene then there is a major flaw that needs to be fixed.
For starters, the taxes on sanitary pads have got to be done away with. Then maybe, some alternative options need to be considered.
It is surprising that tampons and menstrual cups haven’t caught on in India, but menstrual cups do offer quite a few advantages over regular sanitary pads including better hygiene, no smell, no rashes to name a few. What it offers to the monetary problem in India is that it does not have to be regularly replaced hence can be used over long periods of time. A drive distributing menstrual cups and teaching people how to use them can go a long way in breaking the menstruation taboo in India. Not just this they are also incredibly eco-friendly because of the non-necessity to dispose of.
According to me, the government has got to spend more time and resources into providing the basic sanitation needed during the menstruation period for girls. Periods are not and should not be a taboo. We as the forward thinkers and the 21st-century flag bearers need to make sure of it.
To know more about menstrual cups go here.
-Abhijit Krishna Menon
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