– IRIS 2020 created a video chain of over 1000+ videos with participants passing a sanitary pad, conduct a distribution drive
– IIM Indore’s Director & a Visiting Faculty take a step ahead and contribute over 18K+ sanitary pads for the drive
Roughly half of the female population—around 26 percent of the global population—are of reproductive age. More than 800 million women are menstruating on a particular day. On average a woman menstruates for about 7 years during her lifetime. Globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services and in Least Developed Countries only 27 per cent of the population has a hand-washing facility with water and soap at home. Talking about periods or holding a sanitary napkin is still a taboo. IRIS—the annual cultural and management fest of IIM Indore, this year decided to take a bold step and break this taboo, create awareness about menstrual hygiene and ‘normalise periods’, with their initiative #LetsTalkPeriods. The team created a national record by preparing a video chain of more than 1000+ participants passing a sanitary pad, and received the certificate from India Book of Records. The team also conducted a distribution drive, collaborating with Indore based NGO Manasa.
Taking a step ahead, Professor Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore through his NGO Samagat; Ms. Shanu Mehta, Visiting Faculty, IIM Indore and Founder of her NGO Arthsangini came forward and donated 18,200 sanitary pads.
Professor Rai said that menstruation is intrinsically related to human rights- when people cannot access safe bathing facilities and safe effective measures of managing their menstrual hygiene, they’re not able to manage their periods with dignity. Menstruation related teasing, exclusion and shame also undermine the principle of human dignity. ‘I congratulate my students for taking a bold and brave step to break this taboo. Even today, gender equality, poverty, humanitarian crisis and harmful traditions can turn menstruation into a time of deprivation and stigma and affect female health. Sanitary pads is the first step towards menstrual hygiene’, he said.
Ms. Mehta noted that due to lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene, a woman’s health is also at risk. ‘We want to create awareness about using a sanitary pad and will be distributing these napkins to more than 1800 underprivileged women in Indore’, she said. Ms. Mehta’s NGO Arthsangini is helping women become self-reliant by encouraging entrepreneurship and also supporting them in being financially literate so that they can further enhance their business.
IRIS Team coordinators Priya Arora and Toshendra Kumar Singh, noted that even holding a pad in public has been a taboo since very long. ‘The reality is deeply rooted to the grounds when a girl is taught to not use the words like ‘periods’ in public, when they are taught to not attend any pious religious ceremonies during periods, and when they are called “impure” when they bleed’, they said. Milestone coordinators Anjali Sahani & Ashwani Kumar said, ‘When the pandemic distressed our little worlds, IRIS is determined to create an impact on the ground level.’ Hence, we tapped upon one of the unspoken yet natural issue, they added.