Menstruation is a subject which is often discussed among women of all ages secretly.
Though women have progressed in many aspects of life, menstruation still remains a topic of silent gestures and little whispers. Since I started working on menstrual awareness programs, I began to notice that women had many inhibitions regarding this subject, often leading to resentment, feelings of discrimination, embarrassment and discomfort. And precisely, this is the objective of Naari – to help them get rid of those inhibitions, to help them feel confident of their bodies, to help them end their agonies related to menstruation.
In an effort to achieve all this, we try to speak with woman from all walks of life to educate them about how important is to have a healthy and safe period. It’s imperative that they understand the importance of hygiene management during this time and indulge in safe menstrual practices.
As part of this program, recently I had an opportunity to team up with PlanYourHealth.in to conduct an awareness session among young girls from the 8th and 9th standard of Amrita Vidyalam School at Secunderabad. Though it was meant to be a quick 15 – 20 minutes session, we ended up chatting for almost an hour. I was pleasantly surprised to see their interest in this topic.
While they felt shy in the beginning, they ended up talking openly about the female menstrual physiology, impacts of sanitary napkins and social inhibitions.
We started with an ice breaker exercise and came to know of some interesting words they use to describe periods among themselves. It reminded me of my childhood when we used to do the same thing. But I assured them I don’t whisper about it anymore and encourage women no to do so either. The first lesson was Let’s Talk! Period!
Then came the time to discuss conventional sanitary napkins. A few of them knew that these napkins are loaded with chemicals and that they can potentially impact our health, but they didn’t know much detail about it. This is where we were able to help. I was glad to talk to them about the various layers of sanitary napkin and kind of chemicals and health hazards they can present. The girls were all ears to this information and eagerly waited for the next part of presentation.
We also spoke about the environmental challenges that we as society are facing due to increased use of disposables. The impacts of burning or flushing or dumping disposables on the environment and how that trail eventually leads to us. The class took great interest in this subject and were open to try alternatives so that they could contribute to safeguarding their surroundings.
Lastly, we spoke about alternatives. I introduced them to reusable cloth pads, partially degradable sanitary napkins and menstrual cups. Of all the products, they showed the most interest in menstrual cups. They wanted to know more about them talk about them and experience them. This left me thinking that these girls were more open minded than many women who are still afraid of trying a cup thinking it might get lost inside.
I was left feeling extremely positive for the young generation. Way to go girls!
Note: The session was conducted in collaboration with www.PlanYourHealth.in – a unique preventive healthcare service provider which aims to be a part of every family’s health and offers high quality healthcare solutions for all age groups through an online platform which brings convenience at lower prices to the people. Additionally, it provides lifetime digital health records of its customers to healthcare services (diagnostic tests, vaccinations, immunizations records etc) availed by the customers in the past through PYH or otherwise on request.
Naari is a product and service based social entrepreneurial venture. We endeavour to ensure that women have safe and hygienic periods. There is an immense lack of information regarding menstruation among women. Owing to deep rooted menstrual traditions and practices in society, women often have to face discrimination at various levels in family, society and at their work place. Hence we provide facts about the menstrual cycle, enabling women to feel comfortable about their bodies while breaking down menstrual myths. In additions we help women chose eco friendly products to deal with menstruation and in turn are adding our little bit in safeguarding the environment.
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Anju Arora is the Founder of Naari and is the Hyderabad Committee Lead of WeAreTheCity India.