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Semantee Chattopadhyay
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Fundamentally in our language with think of menstruation as this untouchable, shameful subject that we do not talk about. One of the main reasons that period for poverty hasn’t him at rest as a public health crisis is Stigma. What is stigma? Social stigma is the disapproval of discrimination against a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from the other members of society. It is one of the first and foremost valuable phenomena that distinguish males from females. It also marks in a body can become pregnant. As society created gender norms centuries ago, the menarche, which marks the first period, suddenly became the milestone when gender roles were constructed. Period stigma has fostered menstruation to be a taboo subject. We are not aware that period poverty exists. There are girls all over the world as young as 10 years old or 18 years old who have been missing school routinely due to menstruation due to the simple fact that they couldn’t afford sanitary products. This number amounts to 800 million. They have to choose between the education they deserve and the horrific primitive alternatives like toilet paper, old socks etcetera. It’s atrocious and unacceptable and this needs to stop. Period poverty is robbing young girls of their childhood. This is because menstruation is something that we hide and keep to ourselves and that menstrual hygiene is not a right, it is a privilege. The idea of menstrual hygiene not being right is the basis of such a huge problem. Period poverty has been neglected majorly by the social justice movement too. Period poverty can be defined as not being able to afford period products due to lack of income.
The menstrual movement is the fight against period poverty and period stigma. It is the fight for it to table access to menstrual hygiene. Sanitary products are essential products that every woman should have access to. “Meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of Human Rights, dignity and public health.”- Sanjay Wijesekera, former UNICEF chief of water sanitation and hygiene.