Of those ‘periods’ and breaking the taboos

Of those ‘periods’ and breaking the taboos

Of Those ‘Periods’ And Breaking The Taboos. Sanitary napkin brand Whisper and independent researcher IPSOS shared disturbing findings of a recent survey on menstruation undertaken in Hyderabad and other key metros of India.

Shraddha Kapoor, Mandira Bedi and other women achievers talk about primitive

Sanitary napkin brand Whisper and independent researcher IPSOS shared disturbing findings of a recent survey on menstruation undertaken in Hyderabad and other key metros of India. At an event held in the capital (New Delhi), attended by actors Shraddha Kapoor, Mandira Bedi, founder of Menstrupedia Aditi Gupta, veteran actor Tanvi Azmi and Dr Suneela Garg, some shocking facts about primitive practices related to women's health and hygiene were brought to fore.

Some of the shocking findings that captured attention were: 5 per cent of women residing in cities get their sanitary pads wrapped in a newspaper while purchasing; 40 per cent of urban girls stay largely at home during their periods; 65 per cent of the women don't wash their hair during the time. Other common practices include women trying to abstain from physical contact with other members of the family during their period, and should such a woman touch a family member that member would have to cleanse themselves by bathing. Practices where menstruating women are served food separately and are asked to remain confined to a single room in the house are not obsolete.

Taking the first step towards kick-starting a movement to tear down ignorance and myths, the event witnessed an engaging panel discussion among these eminent personalities. The achievers who haven't let period taboos restrain them, came forward to share their personal stories.

Linking sanitary hygiene solutions to confidence, actor Shraddha Kapoor said, "While some of us go about our professional lives with relative ease in the days of our periods, there are thousands of women of my age who live every day bogged down by restrictions and taboos. I want to encourage and urge women to go forth and defy regressive traditions in pursuit of success. Period taboos are the villains amongst us.”

She added, "My profession demands extensive travel, long shooting hours and rigourous rehearsals —I simply cannot restrict myself due to these taboos imposed on us.”

The medical expert on the panel, Dr Suneela Garg noted, "Menstrual myths and taboos are prevalent in societies and cultures throughout the world as well as in India and have their root in socio-cultural norms, practices and beliefs. These affect the normal work and lifestyle of women and may even result in adverse health consequences. There is a need to dispel these myths and taboos. Advocacy and communication bringing about a reform."

Aditi Gupta, founder of the online awareness platform, Menstrupedia.com said, "My personal journey from a girl to a woman has been difficult, as I made the journey through a myriad of taboos and misconceptions that came along. While the pain and inconveniences are real, a lot could be done to make girls more knowledgeable in this area. In a bid to change this mindset, I applaud the organisers for taking up the cause and bringing it to the forefront of the society."

Veteran actor Tanvi Azmi said, "I have personally successfully defied these taboos during my time. If I had followed these 'pseudo' traditions like my peers did, I would have been stuck with a backward mindset and would have brought up the next generation with similar restrictions. As parents, we must have the right discussions about menstruation - and at correct times - with our children. Taboos that perpetuate our society must simply have no place.”

The fundamental step towards empowering women during their menses is to create awareness on the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene. On this note, the brand along with Shradha Kapoor, Aditi Gupta, Dr Suneela Garg, Tanvi Azmi and Mandira Bedi came together to sign a declaration - "Whisper promises to educate 15 million girls on menstrual education by 2017", in compliance with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

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