March 04 2019

Period education for both men and women


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Whenever the word ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’ comes up in a social or public discussion, there has always been a huge blanket of silence around it. It has been so for generations and even as we stand in 2018, the scenario has not changed much. Women and young girls refrain from talking about periods in any given situation. Accompanied by stigma, superstitions, and misconceptions surrounding this most natural phenomenon of the female body, menstruation has remained a ‘dark topic’ in the Indian society.

Out of the total menstruating population in the country of 355 women (including young girls), only 18% actually use sanitary napkins. Of these, merely 40% know the science behind menstruation and how to treat it, which is a very small number with respect to awareness. Lack of knowledge and awareness about this biological process has not only resulted in health concerns among women but also deepened the stigma. As the number of uterine diseases and fatal incidents among women owing to bad period hygiene, keeps rising, it’s time to take control.

Thankfully, with social initiatives through movies like PADMAN, the conversation about period hygiene has just started to open. However, it is not the onus of women alone to understand and educate themselves and their fellow women, but also the men of our societies to join the discussion and take it to a broader spectrum.

Akshay Kumar for NIINE

 

 

 

The NIINE Movement joined hands with the PADMAN actor Akshay Kumar to initiate dialogues on periods. Through the new social campaign #18to82, NIINE aims to bridge the gap between the small number of sanitary napkin users and the bigger population of non-users. This campaign is about opening the discussion at a public level encompassing men, women, young boys, and girls, to talk confidently about periods and break the secrecy around the subject. Because only when they know, can they understand the health implications of bad period hygiene and help each other to take care of menstrual hygiene and sanitation.

Promoting his movie PADMAN, Akshay Kumar started a discussion on this most pressing issue across his social media channels, inviting unafraid conversations from his followers. Such open talks can expand the reach that our society needs to understand menstrual health in depth. However, this alone will not suffice to create awareness. The NIINE Movement looks at tackling this issue at a much larger level.

 

Educating men on menstrual health

It all starts with knowledge. Knowledge exposes people to the unknown and unheard. The NIINE Movement is on a mission to:

  • Educate men about period health, sanitation, and implications of bad period hygiene.
  • Urge men to make menstrual hygiene a priority in their families and empower their women with proper knowledge and facilities.
  • Bring young and adolescent girls, their mothers, fathers, teachers, community leaders, village healthcare givers, local self-help groups in semi-urban and rural areas, on the same platform to learn and talk about periods.
  • Influence male society members to break the awkwardness among themselves through training on proper sanitation.
  • Integrate innovative media like digital, social activities, events etc. in villages and remote rural areas to spread the word in schools, colleges, institutions, healthcare centers.
  • Enroll Gram Pradhans and Panchayats to take the lead and drive the message across villagers.

Movies have the power to change perception. And with PADMAN, and Akshay Kumar’s initiatives, Indian women and girls have started to step out in the open and begun voicing their concerns related to period health. These small voices, however, are just a start, and with the right education and guidance, this will shape up into a revolution that will change people’s perception towards menstruation. And that is when we can truly call ourselves a healthy and happy society. Till then we continue to break one stigma at a time.

 

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Niine Team

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