THAT time of the month. It’s painful, irritable, uncomfortable, messy and emotional, but what it definitely is not is shameful, disgusting and embarrassing. As natural as the phenomenon is we still tiptoe around the M-word like it’s a ticking time bomb ready to explode and spread its ‘impurity’.
The average woman spends 3,500 days of her life menstruating. Yet, when we have to talk about it, it’s often behind closed doors and in hushed whispers. Menstruating women are still made to refrain from domestic work and, while I would be pleased to see my father and brother working in the kitchen and cooking for five days, what would make me even happier is if we actually address this elephant in the room.
Nearly 88% of Indian women do not use sanitary napkins due to a lack of awareness, access, affordability and the shame attached to their menstrual cycle. Many of them rely on unhygienic practices such as the use of old rags, plastic, sand and even ash, lead to the spread of countless diseases. Girls are made to drop out of school once they reach puberty and as many as 28% of the girls said they skip school during their period because of a lack of clean toilets and other facilities.
Sanitary pads are an essential need for women yet buying them feels like executing a time-driven drug deal - over in the blink of an eye, a stealthy exchange of contraband, carefully wrapped in black plastic and newspaper. Nh1 designs along with designer Pallavi Mohan are taking the hammer in their hands to break the ice between the period stigma and society through their initiative ‘Don’t Hide it. Period’. This initiative is revamping the conventional sanitary napkin packaging by putting a set of ten sanitary pads in a canvas pouch emblazoned with red and orange polka dots. Each pad has a unique and bold message that aims to spark a conversation society has shied away from, for far too long.
That’s not all. For every pack of pads purchased, the sale proceeds will be donated to The Better India, along with Aakar Innovations, is setting up a factory in Ajmer that will employ local women to manufacture and distribute, low-cost sanitary napkins. ‘
No more explaining and no more hiding. After all, it’s just your period.
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