Discuss how the taboos and myths surrounding menstruation in India have been detrimental for women in many aspects of socio-cultural life. Suggest measures to combat them.

Menstruation is a part of life for girls and women aged approximately between 15 to 50 years. Due to regressive cultural practices, it has contributed to exclusion of women in many ways:

  • Restrictions on mobility as women are sometimes forcibly confined to their houses.
  • This affects their ability to participate in education, employment and political affairs like Gram Panchayat meetings.
  • Menstrual taboos thus contribute to high dropout rate of girls and low female labour force participation rate.
  • Menstruating women are prohibited from entering temples. This affects right to freedom of religion (Article 25).
  • Women could be forced to eat apart from other family members.
  • Therefore, the notion of women being ‘impure’ during menstrual period is reinforced.

Steps to combat myth:

  • Encouraging women to break taboos on food, entering temples, etc.
  • Involving religious leaders in debates to change discourse surrounding menstruation.
  • Designating women champions who can change attitudes of others in this context.
  • Effective information, education and communication through multimodal means can combat tattoos by changing behaviour.

SDGs call for empowering girls and women. Addressing menstruation related discrimination will enable them to live a full and productive life.

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