Kerala has become the first state in India to make sanitary napkin vending machines mandatory in all higher secondary schools, in a governmental mandate requiring that the machines be installed for the new academic year. The Government of Kerala has named this the "She Pad" social program which will provide free sanitary pads to 300 government schools in the state of Kerala. While is this is a fantastic effort on behalf of the state government, Kerala is already one of the most literate states in menstrual hygiene management, with nine out of ten young women in Kerala using personal hygiene products, according to the latest National Family Health Survey of 2015-16. However, we hope this monumental commitment to menstrual hygiene will inspire other states in what could be the beginning of a national revolution towards expanding the rights of girls and menstruators.
Period: End of Sentence: Documentary, 26min, 2018. Netflix.
In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. "Period. End of Sentence." -- a documentary short directed by Rayka Zehtabchi -- tells their story. For generations, these women didn't have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely. But when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. They name their brand "FLY," because they want women "to soar." Their flight is, in part, enabled by the work of high school girls half a world away, in California, who raised the initial money for the machine and began a non-profit called "The Pad Project."
Read more here:
Interviews with Director Rayka Zehtabchi:
January 9, 2019, Timalesena village, Kathmandu, Nepal
Menstruating women are still considered impure in 2019. When Amba Bohara got her period in early January, she and her children barricaded themselves into a tiny “menstruating” hut for the remainder of the icy night. The next morning, 26-year old Amba Bohara and her two children had died, supposedly from suffocation from the fire they had used to keep themselves warm. This centuries-old tradition of isolating menstruating women for fear of “contamination” of the home is known as chhaupadi, and is still widespread. According to the New York Times, a 2010 Nepali government survey found that 19% of women age 15-49 practice chhaupadi, and since 2007, at least eight women have died from various causes including animal attacks, suffocation, and smoke inhalation. Although the Nepali government banned this practice in 2005, change is slow to come.
Source: New York Times.
Read more here:
Girl Scouts of Central Texas: Menstrual Hygiene in Bolivia, 2018.
When Devika Kumar won the National Young Women of Distinction Award in 2017, she was one of ten young women to be recognized nationally for her Girl Scout Gold Award and the only girl to target menstrual hygiene in a different country. This year, another Girl Scout from Central Texas has decided to target the gap in menstrual hygiene knowledge in the country of Bolivia, and also won the title of National Gold Award Girl Scout in the process. Sarah Mercado, an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, also recognized the global issue of young girls lacking menstrual resources to continue their education and pursue their goals. Many low-income families cannot afford menstrual pads, which leaves many girls without options. Sarah held workshops in the low-income parts of Santa Cruz, Bolivia where she taught women how to repurpose old fabric and sew them into washable menstrual pads. She would like to share a lesson she learned: “[Don’t] underestimate the impact of one individual, and allow [yourself] to be inspired by others.” Keep up the good work Sarah!
Read more here:
so much is happening surrounding menstrual hygiene in the world.
From cutting-edge research to Oscar-winning documentaries, menstrual hygiene is taking its place on the global stage. Get informed!
Want to know what's new with the mahi project?