Breaking myths and taboos: A new horizon

Report by: 
Shreya Chakraborty
Kolkata
29 May 2018

Unicef organized a campaign on menstrual hygiene day in Kolkata.  It was named #LetsTalkAboutPeriods and the key issues of sanitation and hygiene for young growing girls were addressed to a great extent. The participants were Mohammad Mohiuddin (Chief of UNICEF, West Bengal), Dibyendu Sarkar, Sonali Datta Ray, Ananya Chakraborti, chairperson, West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Choten Lama, Secretary- Panchayat & Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal. It initiated the discussion regarding the myths, misconceptions and taboos associated with periods which is always discussed in the closed rooms of the society.
It is the society and the taboos associated with it which actually creates a hindrance to the daily activities of the menstruating girl. The campaign throws out the clear message that it is high time to talk about periods not only by the females but also the male members of the society so that both the genders can come to an equal and even platform and talk about the hygienic menstrual practices in open. After the welcome address by Mohammad Mohiudddin, Dibyendu Sarkar (additional secretary of Panchayat and Rural Development Department) discussed about the visual media presence and the role of advertisements in promoting the healthy practices of menstrual hygiene. Mohiudddin draws an interesting analogy between moustache of a young boy and the process of bleeding in a young girl: “If the society does not have any question regarding the moustache of a young boy then why about periods in a girl?” Menstruation is not just a female issue. Male engagement is equally needed to break the taboos regarding periods because the society comprises of males as well as females.
Chakraborti talked about the real true essence of menstruation which is clearly the healthy hygienic practices during menstruation and not the shame associated with it. The health of a woman is linked not only with her own self but also her own family. We are conditioned into believing that menstruation means “shorir kharap” (not in good health) but it’s just the contrary. Our health is in perfect condition just because of this natural regular process of periods. Rather it will be a grave matter of concern if our periods are not regular. Lama opined that empowerment of women is just like the growth rate of our country and both government and media must join hands together in breaking such misconceptions regarding periods.