By SM.27 Mar, 2017
More than 70 per cent of girls had no clue about periods till they got it, says a recent study, echoing a fact that women know only too well in a country steeped in societal and religious restrictions, talking about menstruation has always been a taboo, so much so that even teachers brush it under the carpet during anatomy classes.
According to the study by the Jaipur-based Institute of Development Studies with backing from the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), New Delhi, an astounding 73.3 per cent girls (from a sample size of 270) didn’t know about periods till they got it. Anything they learnt about it came from their mothers. They faced challenges until they became mature enough to comprehend the unnecessary stigma attached to it, the research found.
Experts from various fields, including teachers and health activists, are working to overcome these taboos. And Menstrupedia Comic — The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls is part of the effort to spread awareness through comics and illustrations in schools.
The initiative also includes workshops for students of classes 6 and above that will impart lessons on hormonal changes, menstruation and menstrual hygiene to students, says Aditi Gupta, founder of Menstrupedia, who has been working in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“Our book is now used by 75 schools and is translated in 11 languages (English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Nepali, Spanish and Russian). Regional books help us reach remote areas. We have been working in 11 villages in Gujarat and have reached 3,000 marginalised girls in Maharashtra,” she adds.