New Delhi: Around 600 school children took out a rally on Saturday to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene, raising slogans about breaking taboo surrounding the issue.
The rally from Connaught Place to NDMC Convention Centre, which was organised on the occasion of International Menstrual Hygiene Day by the Department of Women and Child Development in collaboration with Sachchi Saheli, was flagged off by Delhi’s Women and Child Development Minister Sandeep Kumar.
On the occasion, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal said “we should talk about it freely and without hesitation” so as to break the taboo. Delhi’s Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra told the children that they must not give in to social pressure and should stand and say no to taboo linked to menstrual cycle.
“Our understanding of menstruation was vague prior to science clarifying it. Thus a lot of bizarre beliefs were twisted to explain periods in primeval communities and cultures. Though now proven wrong by science, these beliefs are still practised in current societies and by so-called modern communities, especially in India,” said Dr Surbhi Singh, founder of Sachi Saheli.
“Despite having known that menstrual fluid is nothing but a harmless mixture of blood, tissues and small amounts of hormones for about a century now, the culture of silence around the subject keeps menstrual myths unquestioned and inviolable.
“We aren’t supposed to talk about it in the open, nor are we supposed to question the restrictions and rules that follow this natural, not to mention essential, biological process.
This initiative is to break this taboo,” she said. Dr Arun Gupta, President of Delhi Medical Council (DMC), said the myth and superstition that surround menstruation are affecting millions of women every day and more importantly, shaping how young girls and women look at themselves, their bodies and their roles in our society.
Statistics reveal that at least 23 per cent of girls in India quit schools when they start menstruating and the rest miss at least five days during periods.
“Various research studies have identified menstruation as one of the key barriers to girls’ school attendance and attainment. We have to break it if we care about girls in our society,” he said.