Menstrual-hygiene-IASToppers
Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] Menstrual hygiene: A challenging development issue

Illiteracy, poverty and lack of awareness are the major reasons behind menstruation still being a taboo in the Indian society.
By IASToppers
October 08, 2019

Contents

  • Introduction
  • What is Menstruation?
  • Restrictions due to Menstruation
  • Reason for restriction due to Menstruation
  • Conclusion

Menstrual hygiene: A challenging development issue

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Introduction

  • A woman’s menstrual health is crucial to her well-being and also to the well-being of her family and community.
  • However, too often, especially in the developing world, customs and institutional biases prevent women from getting the menstrual health care they need.
  • On a global level, at least 500 million women and girls lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. 

What is Menstruation?

Menstrual-hygiene2-IASToppers

  • Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is the regular natural change that occurs in the female reproductive system that makes pregnancy possible.
  • Every month, a women body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the menstrual blood passes out of the body through the vagina.

Restrictions due to Menstruation

  • Many a times, menstruation imparts rules, restrictions, isolation and changed expectations from the girls by the society.
  • This changed attitude towards girls such as restrictions on their self-expressions, schooling, mobility and freedom has far reaching consequences on the mindset of women.
  • Mothers are also reluctant to talk about this topic with their daughters and many of them lack scientific knowledge on puberty and menstruation.
  • During their menstruating days, women are prohibited from participating in day-to-day activities and even are not allowed to enter the house.
  • Most girls even hide themselves out of fear or embarrassment on their way to a medical store.

Menstruation-hygine-IASToppers

Reason for restriction due to Menstruation

  • The main reasons for such restriction due to menstruation still being relevant in the Indian society are high rate of illiteracy especially in girls, poverty and lack of awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. Only less than 18 % of Indian women use sanitary pads.
  • However, the 2015-16 National Family and Health Survey found that 58 % of young Indian women (15-24 years) use a hygienic method of protection, a significant increase from the 12 per cent using pads in 2010.
  • In some families, menstruation is being perceived as an unclean thing, extending even to the mention of menstruation both in public and in private.
  • A large number of girls in many less economically stable families drop out of school when they begin menstruating.
  • More than 77 % of menstruating girls and women in India use an old cloth, which is often reused, ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand during periods.

Menstrual hygiene: A challenging development issue-IASToppers

Conclusion

  • Menstrual hygiene continues to be amongst the most challenging development issues today. Even today in many families, freedom of women continues to be in the hands of patriarchal discourse.
  • Hence, there should be a nationwide campaign to make people aware about menstrual health and hygiene and provides information to dispel myths and taboos surrounding this issue.
  • This holistic sensitisation programme should be accomplished through integrated awareness, motivation and meditation programmes.
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Editorial Notes Mains 2020
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