Introduction: Welcome back to the Period Poverty series! Saathi started this series to bring awareness to the intricacies of period poverty. In Part 1 - How menstruation can impact our education, we discussed how menstruation can create a barrier to education for girls who experience period poverty. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of menstrual education and how it is an essential precursor to playing a part in stopping period poverty, discuss how the lack of understanding can create a dangerous stigma and how this stigma can lead to women not understanding their own bodies..
How much do the people around us really understand menstruation? If they don’t experience it, do they need to understand it?
The lack of awareness and understanding creates a stigma
In many parts of the world, menstruation has a stigma associated with it. Many women relate their period with feelings of shame, discomfort and secrecy due to a societal pressure not to talk about menstruation. . Menstruation is still viewed as an uncomfortable, taboo topic even though a quarter of the world experiences it every month. These stigmas have been passed down through generations, intertwining themselves in the culture of these societies. In more traditional parts of India, periods are considered impure and taboo.
Without proper education regarding menstruation, this stigma will continue, further fuelling period poverty. These misconceptions and harmful ideas surrounding menstruation that originated years and years ago will continue to remain prevalent in the conversation surrounding menstruation. These conceptions have been ingrained in society to the point where active learning and discussion about menstruation is required to reverse the stigma around periods and menstruation.
Stigma and lack of education leads to women not understanding their own bodies
It is integral to manage one’s period hygienically and safely. However, the stigma and secrecy surrounding menstruation leads to a lack of conversation and understanding about periods.
The United Nations found that many girls do not have a complete and accurate understanding of menstruation. World Vision found that in India, only 1 in every 2 girls have knowledge about menstruation before their first period. Education is important for girls to correctly manage their menstrual hygiene. When getting their first period, it is important that girls are in a position where they understand what a period is, why they get a period and the resources to manage a period properly.
Mismanagement of periods can lead to many health complications. General discomfort, swelling or soreness may occur. In more extreme cases, infections, such as urinary tract infections may occur. These health complications may make these women more prone to infertility.
Lack of education and understanding can be physically harmful for menstruators. . These unsafe and improper methods may be passed down through generations. Girls may choose to use hygiene alternatives and ways of management that are not clean and safe for themselves such as using unclean cloths or leaving pads in for too long. I Although clothes can be safe, they must be washed and cleaned properly to be safe. However, they are often used dirty as girls are embarrassed to wash and hang them properly due to the secrecy and shame surrounding menstruation.
What is Saathi’s role?
Saathi holds workshops in underserved areas to promote menstrual hygiene, break the taboo and also discuss how to correctly dispose of pads. Saathi aims to educate girls and women in underserved areas about menstrual hygiene and its importance.
We also hold workshops in more urban areas, shifting the focus onto sustainable menstruation. While women in urban areas may have access to menstruation products and more knowledge, Saathi aims to expose them to the plastics and chemicals associated with traditional, plastic pads. Saathi strives to educate women about more eco-friendly hygiene solutions and the significance of these.
We hope to play a part in breaking a dangerous stigma that has a harmful impact on the lives of many girls around the world.
Menstrual education is hugely important in order to break the cycle of harmful stigma deeply ingrained in society. Furthermore, it is important to allow women to manage their menstrual cycles in a way that is safe and hygienic. Menstrual education will play a role in reducing period poverty as education is the first step to emphasizing the importance of proper facilities and products to manage one’s period and the importance of doing so.
Things are definitely changing, slowly. People's attitudes have shifted to being more open to conversation about menstruation but there is still so much work to be done; still only 36% of women have access to these products currently.
Stay tuned for part 3, a discussion on how the COVID-19 has impacted period poverty.
We encourage you to be open and honest when talking about your menstrual cycle to inspire education and action!
- Menstrual Hygiene Day | Challenges and Saathi's Impact
- What is Period Poverty and How Saathi Addresses it in India
- Why is a Sustainable Solution Essential to Creating Period Equity?
Saathi, an award-winning social venture has patented technology to convert agri-waste into absorbent materials. It is known for its 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from banana and bamboo fibers. Saathi pads are better for the body🩸, community 🌎 and environment 🌱. We are on a mission to make products sustainably and responsibly.
We are recognized by the New York Times Climate Hub, UNESCO Green Citizens project, University of St. Andrews, Solar Impulse Foundation, and Global Cleantech Innovation Program among others for our innovative, social impact, and sustainable work. We are working towards 9 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
About Tattv Bodh Foundation:
Tattvbodh Foundation, a non-profit organization is proud to be partnering with Saathi - a social venture which manufactures plastic-free sanitary pads from natural fibers. Saath, along with Tattv Bodh Foundation have launched #OneMillionPads initiative to address the lack of access to menstrual products. The #OneMillionPads initiative aims at providing complete Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) to underprivileged women in India who don't have access to sanitary pads. With this campaign, we plan to reach 5000 menstruators and provide them with a supply of menstrual products for 1 year so that menstruation does not affect or hinder their daily activities. It takes only Rs 1500 to provide sustainable pads to 1 menstruator for the entire year. Make your contribution here and tag 5 others!
We are happy to announce that TattvBodh Foundation is participating in the GiveIndia Fundraising Challenge 2022 where every donation you make to Tattv Bodh Foundation through GiveIndia gets them closer to their mission.
Why should you donate to us through GiveIndia?
- Every contribution from you makes us eligible to matching rewards
- Making a donation to us has been made easy and GiveIndia does not charge any platform retention on the donation, but only the minimal payment processing fee
- Matching rewards won by us, through your support, help us to amplify our impact to more beneficiaries and a wider community
- Donors avail tax exemptions for the amount contributed
Visit Give India - 1 M pads - Tattv Bodh Foundation to extend your support!