I live in India. And over the last year, I have been doing a research project on Menstrual Hygiene over the last year, as a part of the Indian Council of Medical Research. While it did confirm what I knew already, it did give a few newer ideas.
However, the question that haunts me the most is, why are men never involved?
Men are family, employers, colleagues, friends, professors, the architects of the buildings we live in. They are our other half.
How and why are they in the dark about a crucial life process?
Why aren’t they helping us go through Menstruation safely?
Why do our women not have the required amenities in workplaces and schools?
Why don’t our women have economic independence enough to get themselves sanitary napkins?
Why aren’t we getting medical attention before we end up with anaemia, infections or infertility?
Why don’t our colleagues and employers understand when we suffer from terrible cramps, that we need a day or two off almost every month?
Upon much pondering, what I found out was that women too are responsible for men not knowing. There is a sense of shame ingrained so deep that women never let men know that such a process even exists. From shopping for sanitary napkins wrapped in black covers to criticising any curiosity, from a young age, women are, very effectively, cutting away their chances for a better future.
And men who do know about Menstruation are held back by the same sense of shame.
But men who know are already making a difference. A huge difference.
There are NGOs, factories that make affordable sanitary napkins, blogs to educate people about Menstruation, all initiated and run by men.
So, all we need is to break a few barriers. All we need is some courage. All we need is some love. For ourselves.