The absenteeism of girl children from schools during their periods

According to research, 40% girls remain absent from their schools at the time of their menstruation. The statistics are even worse when we take only government schools into consideration. And these numbers are degrading day by day as the topic remains a big taboo in the parliament and in general households even till this date.

  1. Lack of awareness- The downfall of our literacy rate has been the root cause of this problem. It is very obvious that the households where the parents are illiterate engage in such practices. These belief systems are then passed on to the younger generations by them.
  2. Lack of proper hygiene products- More than 60% of women in India use cloth during their menstrual cycle. This is because either they don’t have access to sanitary pads (and cannot afford them) or they are not properly aware of the ill effects that can be caused by using cloth.
  3. Lack of privacy and cleanliness in schools- Unfortunately, most people in the rural areas still consider menstruation as impure and hence, talking about menstrual hygiene is still a massive taboo there. Some parents don’t send their daughters to school in the fear of invasion of her privacy while tackling her periods.
  4. Girls report substantial embarrassment and fear of teasing related to menstruation in the various interviews, and said that this, together with menstrual pain and lack of effective materials for menstrual hygiene management, led to their school absenteeism.

The school washrooms are also not considered a safe and clean space for the menstruating girls.

Although, the change that we can brought about would have been bigger if we would have gotten a chance to personally distribute these cups and raise awareness among the girls of the rural areas, but looking at the current scenario, there are other alternative techniques that we can adopt to make a change.

  1. Individual initiative and the chain following it- Through some appraisal, we can ask individuals to do their part towards our mission by telling them to talk to their house workers regarding the mentrual cups as they are a very affordable alternative to sanitary pads and that can make a big difference when combined as a whole. We can also request them to provide their female house workers with these cups, if possible,(since they don’t cost much) and ask them to give it a try. The house workers can then educate other ladies of her community for the same.
  2. Spark a dialogue- The social media platform is the most powerful tool to raise an argument regarding an issue. But apart from raising awareness, we can launch petitions to make sanitary pads tax free and accessible to all.
  3. Busting the myths through our articles and posts- Lastly, we can educate people more about the stereotypes surrounding the usage of menstrual cups and the menstrual cycle in general.

Also, menstrual cups should be used with good care as, if mishandled, they can be the cause of many diseases down there. Therefore, people need to be advised about which type of cup is to be used and how to handle it in a way which prevents it from spreading infectious diseases.  

Our main motive shall be to raise awareness as well as to experiment, and then, to spread more awareness about the latter. We shall also focus on finding better solutions which are viable for the issues which are being faced by the women of the rural areas in the long run. The aspiration should be grounded to making small changes from time to time if we really want to bring about a great revolution in this world one day!

“It’s never too late to start.”