The period itself is one of the biggest challenges a woman faces every month. Those mood swings, headaches, and period cramps disturb the daily routine of women. In India, there are various stigmas and taboos associated with periods. Period-related stigma leads to poor menstrual hygiene among rural girls and women, forcing them to use traditional products such as old clothes, leaves, sandbags, and ashes during the menstruation cycle.
Affordability of period products is one of the significant challenges face by rural women during periods. Rural women are not financially sound enough to buy the costly pack of sanitary pads. So they stick to using the substitute of period products. Continuing to use these products can further increase the risk of contracting Reproductive Tract Infections. Apart from social stigmas, taboos, and the practice of poor menstrual hygiene, there are other challenges faced by rural girls and women during periods. Continue reading.
Lack of Period Information:
It is estimated that only 48% of adolescent girls are aware of the menstruation cycle before menarche. When girls get the period for the first time, due to lack of period education, they believe that they are ill and die. Due to various stigma and taboos related to periods, rural girls and women don’t talk about periods because they think it is shameful and impure. Also, parents and female teachers won’t find it comfortable to talk about periods. It results in a lack of period information among rural women that might also lead to myths and misconceptions related to periods in the future.
Lack of Period Product accessibility:
Due to a lack of period information, rural women are not aware of the period products available in the marketplace. Additionally, due to the lack of pharmacy shops in rural areas, women find it challenging to get a pack of sanitary napkins. Another reason is that rural women cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins due to their high cost. Lastly, due to social stigma and taboos associated with periods, women feel shy to ask for a sanitary napkin packet from a make shopkeeper. All these factors force women to use leaves, old clothes, and ashes during periods, further increasing the risk of RTIs.
Tips to Combat these Challenges:
Mention below is some of the various ways to combat the challenges faced by rural girls and women during periods.
- Distribution of free sanitary napkins to women who live in rural areas.
- Organizing campaigns for women to provide period information to rural women.
- Creating awareness related to good menstrual hygiene practices.
- Changing the mindset of people towards the menstruation cycle and eradicating the stigma, taboos, and myths related to periods.
Concluding the topic:
Rural girls and women have to go through challenges such as poor menstrual hygiene, period information, period product accessibility, social stigma, and taboos related to periods. There are various ways mentioned above that will help to combat these challenges. It will take time for women to adopt a new perception related to the menstruation cycle. Still, we must take necessary steps to change the mindset of people regarding the menstruation cycle.