We know the plight about sanitary napkins in India. Majority of our population in the 21st century resides in rural India and the condition of women is quite pathetic there. And not only in rural India, the condition of women is quite pathetic in urban slums also. We all know “That Time of the Month” when women need to maintain utmost level of cleanliness and hygiene and need to take some precautionary measures for their health but sadly more than 75% of women still depend on clothes and other disgusting ways to deal with their menstrual blood. This topic is a taboo among the uneducated masses and thus women are not openly discussing and ready to talk about this.
Let’s talk about the statistics. As per a study conducted by A C Neilsen and funded by Plan India only 12% of women use disposable sanitary napkins. By disposable sanitary napkins we mean tampons, locally prepared napkins and sanitary napkins. As per the Govt. figures the real data is far lower than this. So, the rest of 88% of women don’t use sanitary napkins or most likely are using unsanitary means. Do you know that 8 out of 10 girls in rural India drop out of schools because of lack of access to disposable sanitary napkins? Rural women think that disposable sanitary napkins are heavier on pocket, difficult to use, unavailable in rural pockets and because of misconceptions and taboos they miss out on using this.
There are a number of NGOs and Govt. programs which are focusing on making the disposable sanitary napkins available to rural women. One of them in Project Baala which is the brainchild of Soumya Dabriwal and Nitisha Sethia. They manufacture environment friendly sanitary pads which is a layer of 3 clothes stitched together. The duo distributes the kit of 3 environment friendly pads to adolescent girls in school and conduct workshops to educate them about menstrual hygiene.
Inab Khurram who is pursuing her post-graduation in chemistry and Dr. Hetal Sachanandani who is studying dental medicine are involved in the campaign to educate women about menstrual hygiene and promote the use of sanitary napkins. The duo says that they visit slums and conduct awareness sessions with rural women to educate them about the benefits of using disposable sanitary napkins. Inab says that she is aware of such campaigns in Chandigarh and thus she decided to try the same in Jaipur. Till date she has not received any funds from Govt or any other Ngo but she regularly receives financial support from Twitter. There are people who donate to this cause through twitter and paytym.
There are organizations like Menstrupedia and Saral Designs who work on menstrual hygiene and promote the use of sanitary napkins. Together they have come up with project Swacch which deals in reducing the cost of production and distribution of environment friendly sanitary napkins which will thus yield maximum benefits without compromising on the quality front.
Even Bollywood is sensitizing the masses about the same. Akshay Kumar is coming up with a mainstream movie Padman which will be releasing on 26th January, 2018.
The movie talks about the real life hero Arunachalam Muruganantham a social activist from Tamil Nadu. The man dedicated his life in order to provide sanitary napkins to rural women. He came up with a machine which will be producing sanitary napkins for women at substantially lower cost so that no women is deprived of the right of sanitary napkins and safe menstruation.