India is a country with a total population of more than 1.35 billion, of which 648 million are women i.e. 48% of the total population. There are over 355 million menstruating women/girls in India. Even in 2020, millions of women across India and various other countries still face significant barriers to comfortable and dignified experience with menstrual health. (Census, 2011).
As we know India has around 355 million menstruating women/girls and many of whom face multi-layered barriers to effective Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) due to various socio and economic factors. According to the latest data collated by the ministry of health, only 12% of women and girls have access to sanitary napkins in India, while a majority of them relies on outdated, unhygienic methods during menstruation. Men can support women and girls to manage menstruation effectively across different social domains including household, community, school, and work. Men and boys influence women and girls’ experiences of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) through many roles, such as husbands, fathers, brothers, students, peers, teachers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, employers, development and humanitarian practitioners, and policymakers. All these factors make it necessary for immediate participation of men across all these roles to resolve the difficulties that women are facing.
There are organizations fighting to destigmatize periods. One such example, ‘The Periods Are Not An Insult’ campaign was created after President Trump made a remark about a female journalist back in 2015. Women run most campaigns that are working to bring menstrual conversations to the mainstream but some males are getting in on the action by helping provide feminine hygiene products to their female peers. One organization put it perfectly, “It’s time to put the word ‘men’ into “menstrual hygiene.” Last year for Father’s Day, Dignity Period made a list of the ways men can stand alongside women and support their menstrual health, but a lot more has to be done in this field to achieve the desired goals.
There are men who have started different campaigns on menstruation, as they believe menstruation is not just a women issue and men need to play an important part in it. Men can help provide support at home or school when a girl faces her first period, or a woman has an embarrassing or difficult experience. As a community member, who can challenge taboos, social norms, and stigma, men have the power to influence the attitudes of others. As teachers or employers, men can ensure that the school or work environment makes it easy for girls and women to manage menstruation with dignity. Men who are professional engineers, social development specialists, managers, or medical professionals should support programs for improving the menstrual hygiene context for girls and women. There are many societal myths about menstruation because of which women do not talk openly and feel shy during menstruation. There are many taboos and stigmas about menstruation that women must deal with throughout different aspects of their life. It really feels surprising to know that women, who give birth to all of us by the same act of menstruation, are called impure during their menstrual days and in many cases are not allowed to worship temples and enter the kitchen. Some places they are even asked to sleep outside the house. Until these socio discriminations are resolved, women will not be able to live with peace: this impacts success of not only women but of the whole nation.
Men 4 Menstruation (M4M) campaign has taken an initiative to eradicate societal myths, taboos and stigmas about menstruation and provide underprivileged girls/women with Menstrual Hygiene Management’ (MHM) awareness and sanitary products. As the name suggests that men need to come forward and take the responsibility to help women live healthy, with dignity and pride. Men are the active changing agents of the society and they must help to abolish these myths. ‘Men 4 Menstruation’ is an initiative of ‘Motive8 Trust’ under which a group of men, inspired and supported by women, has come forward to fight against ‘Period Poverty’. We have driven campaign to ensure availability of MHM awareness and facilities to all the menstruators, irrespective of their socio-economic and geographic positions.
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