In the run-up to Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, Ujaas, an initiative by the Aditya Birla Education Trust, has launched an online petition ‘Let’s put the men in menstruation’. The petition is part of Ujaas’ larger campaign #ChangeThePsychle which aims to break the stigma around menstruation and normalize menstrual health conversations. The petition will be live for the entire month of May and is urging more change-makers to sign the petition and break the silence among men and boys around the topic of menstruation https://www.change.org/p/let-s-put-the-men-in-menstruation
In India, when it comes to creating awareness about menstrual health and hygiene, young boys and men are totally excluded from the conversation. This situation is not too different with girls where about 71% of them are not aware of menstruation till they get their first period. Menstruation in India is still considered a taboo driven by feelings of ignorance, disgust, and indifference among the men, and as for women, they too shun these conversations due to fear, shame, and apprehension, leading to zero awareness about menstruation. To bring in awareness about menstrual health and hygiene amongst adolescent girls and their family members, Ujaas has already conducted over 223 awareness workshops, benefitting 13857 girls and distributing over 322248 sanitary napkins so far since its inception in January 2022. The petition is the next step in bringing overall awareness by creating conversation and spreading awareness about menstrual health among men and boys so as to give confidence through awareness, break taboos and encourage open conversations.
Commenting on the petition and the #ChangeThePsychle campaign, Advaitesha Birla, Founder of Ujaas said, “For far too long now, young girls and women across India have been negatively impacted by stigma, taboo, and myths surrounding menstruation. Families and communities across rural India and even urban areas are still reluctant to openly discuss the matter of a girl getting her period; it is a simple biological function that gets mired in so much shame. I truly believe that the only way to break this cycle is through increased awareness. It is a powerful tool that can help millions of women and adolescent girls to have better access to menstrual health. Ujaas’ petition ‘Let’s put the men in menstruation’ is the first step to creating sustainable interventions to reduce period poverty and empowering menstruators so that they may achieve their full potential and impact society positively.”
Additionally, speaking about the petition by Ujaas, Dr. Manjula, Padmashree Awardee, Gynecologist said, “In India, 70 % of mothers still consider menstruation to be impure or dirty and nearly 45 % of girls think menstruation is abnormal, and only 1 out 3 girls in India have access to sanitary pads. All of these taboos and myths have serious consequences on women’s health, leading to reproductive tract infections and many other medical problems. Ujaas’ petition and the campaign is, thus, an important step toward creating greater awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. It will make sure that all women and girls have access to proper information about menstruation, bereft of any stigma.”
Anurag Chauhan, Founder, Humans For Humanity, who has been working on Menstrual Hygiene Management for almost a decade also commented on Ujaas’ petition saying, “Destigmatising menstruation is crucial to the larger process of social change. Period poverty has cascading socio-economic repercussions that negatively impact women’s health, education, livelihood, and overall quality of life. Hence, Ujaas’ petition and #ChangeThePsychle campaign are much-needed steps to improve menstrual health & hygiene in India.”