Menstrual hygiene: Social workers feel PM Modi’s speech will help debunk myths
When the words ‘menstrual hygiene’ were mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence
Day speech, it was surely a first. And this has given a new shot of energy to social workers who’ve championed the cause for years.
“PM Modi is the only PM who spoke about menstrual hygiene on such an important day. And menstrual health isn’t a topic to be shoved inside black polythene... When someone like him talks about it, it infuses renewed life and energy in people like me, who have been trying to normalise discussions about it. Ab ghar-ghar discuss hoga, dabi awaaz mein nahi, khulke!” says Anchal Sharma, founder of an NGO, Meals of Happiness.
Delhi-based Anurag Chauhan, who’s been trying to spread awareness about periods through Break The Bloody Taboo campaign, says, “Once, I was in Rajasthan’s Chomu village to address a female gathering on this subject. One of the ladies, must be in her 60s, asked me if I also menstruate! Initially, I thought she’s making fun of me, but soon, I realised she was serious, and was shocked to hear her say, ‘Kya pata, jaise main chupati hun, vo (my husband) bhi chupate ho’. Imagine the level of unawareness on this topic among women like her, who are married and have kids... So when a man, and that too the PM of this country, talks about periods on I-day, it not only boosts our morale, but also helps spread more awareness.”
Lalitha Yadav, who provides basic hygiene essentials to sex workers and underprivileged in Delhi’s GB Road and Najafgarh as part of an NGO, Society for Participatory Integrated Development (SPID), says a mere mention of the subject has set the ball rolling.
“Now, whenever we will address the issue among our audience, we happily refer to Modiji’s speech. This helps us take the conversation ahead,” she adds.
NGOS say the level of awareness about menstrual health among women in far-flung areas has been very low