Menstrual hygiene day is celebrated as awareness about menstrual hygiene and to break the menstrual taboo. It is celebrated on 28th May as most women have a menstrual cycle of 28 days and the menstruation period is for about 5 days, marking 28/5. The theme for Menstrual hygiene day 2020 was ‘periods in lockdown’, which helped highlight how difficult it is for women dealing with period poverty. We get a chance to highlight the issues faced by the women during periods thatnot only includes myths and taboos but also include period poverty, which seems to be increasing on a day-to-day basis.


As Judy Grahn quoted, “Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced. Yet, in modern society, this is the most hidden blood, the one so rarely spoken of and rarely seen, except privately by women.” In this era of the 21st century, when we are vocal about almost all of our choices and issues, we are still deeply silenced when we talk about menstruation. Period shame, myth, and taboo are nothing new in society, it’s a deep wound for every woman who has to go through it.


Around 83% of women in Nepal used alternate forms of products, rather than an actual sanitary napkin before the COVID-19 crisis, period stigma had long afflicted the lives of young girls and women but pandemic has made situations worse. Not to mention, taboos like Chhaupadi still exists in the various remote areas of Nepal even after the ban of this stigma by the government in 2005, making circumstances even hard to survive at times leading to fatality.


Well, when we talk about period stigma, poverty, illiteracy plays an immense role in it. Young girls are compelled to drop out of school due to lack of sanitation facility, lack of clean water, sharing the common washrooms and no proper disposing area, and the unavailability of the products making the conditions more aggravated.?


Superstitious beliefs and practices have created deep-rooted menstruation taboo and stigma. Not only Chhaupadi, taboos like “nachhuni” – untouchability still is prevalent in the society making it hard for girls to live through their periods with dignity and respect. Girls are usually considered impure and are not allowed to touch communal objects around them and are made to sleep on floors rather than in a comfortable space, they are made to keep their utensils, clothes separate from everyone and are not supposed to touch the male members of the family.


Restrictions like this are a painful experience and have a long psychological impact of period stigma on young girls leading to their low self-esteem. Needless to say, it’s even more excruciating for trans and disabled women who have to go through double marginalization. The frontline female workers going through the same in this existing crisis is even more deepened and deal with more anxiety and depression.


It’s about time to eradicate these ruthless stigmas from society and start working towards decreasing period poverty from the country, aware the rural people regarding period, educating women about menstrual hygiene, and take bold steps to abolish these restrictions from the society. It’s a time when every woman lives freely and with dignity during her periods and is not seen as untouchable.


Menstruation is the holistic experience because it’s the blood that initiates the process for the next generation in the world. Therefore, regardless of gender let’s come together and fight for what is right and understand the most natural thing that occurs in a girl’s life – PERIOD.

-       Ayushi Lahoti

You May Also Like