85% women feel shy in accepting it in public that they are menstruating and the whole world supports them to keep it a secret. Like medical wale bhaiya will wrap the sanitary pad in black bag. (Dude are you selling hash or what?)
Ghar ke buzurg will tell them to stay at home when heavy flow occurs so that the clothes don’t get stained. (Man, inhe koi btao ki hamare liye, ye daag ache hai!) And I don’t need to list out all the menstruation-related flawed notions in India because the women throughout the Indian subcontinent are going through much more.
The condition of women in rural India in 2018
As per census 2011, there are around 83 crore females in rural India. That is a significant proportion of total women living in India and so, their welfare is also significant.
For the women in rural India, buying bread is more important than buying a sanitary napkin because just a week before they had to pay 12% tax on sanitary napkins. After lots of struggle and protest, rural Indian women have won their fight to bleed tax free.
The #bleedtaxfree hashtag was trending and was bespoke of the extent to which women demanded exemption of taxes on sanitary napkins. In the new and revised GST, the tax on sanitary napkins is finally exempted. But was a movement needed for this?
Condoms are sold tax-free in India but sanitary napkins were taxed
Seeing this, I feel a movement like #bleedtaxfree was much needed. In our country, condoms have been tax-free since so long because they feel that menstruation can be controlled but the urge of having sex is a necessity. So, population should not grow while people have fun.
Ironically, the Government feels that sanitary pads can be replaced by ashes and cloth, but condoms don't have a replacement as the urge for having sex can't be suppressed.
The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. There are many more things on which women pay an extra amount because it's a women thing.
Various items on which women pay taxes because it is a woman thing
Sanitary napkins have now become tax-free in India, but essential women commodities, for example, a razor, are highly taxable. If the razor packet says it is for men, then it's cheaper than the razor packet which says for women.
This extra amount of tax on women things has been termed as the “pink tax” and less than half of the female population in our country is unaware of this.
Pink Tax on women commodities in India
From self-care to accessories, the pink tax is applicable to all women commodities. From clothes to even dry cleaning of clothes, we, the Indian women, have to pay the cost of being a female consumer.
Pink tax is a biased system of penalizing the women consumers in India, especially when they are levied on things to which they have a right to use. We are nearing the 62nd Independence Day and I must not talk about gender discrimination now.
Statistics of cancer in Indian women due to unhygienic menstruation
Out of the total cancer deaths of females, 24% are caused by uterine cancer and around 62,000 women have been diagnosed with cervix cancer. Cancer in itself is a dangerous disease and these types of cancers are specifically linked to unhygienic menstruation.
This is all due to the usage of dirty cloth, ashes, wrong sanitary napkins, the shame of going to washroom again and again to change the pads, and of course, the efforts of society to keep menstruation a secret.
We have been tolerating this for long. It is time to come up and spread awareness about menstruation. Here are a few things, which we all, including men, need to take care when a woman is in “that time of the month”, menstruating and undergoing periods.
Recommended measures to be taken during periods by women in India
1 - Use cotton pads as far as possible:
Yes, we must start using cotton pads. I know the gel pads say they last up to 12 hours, but still you must use cotton pads as they are softer and create less irritation than the gel pads. Additionally, as 7 out of 10 gynecologists have suggested, change your pads after every 5 hours in order to prevent bacterial growth and irritation in the vaginal area.
2 - Take proper rest and ask for your menstrual leave:
In many corporate sector companies, women are granted 5 days leave for their periods. And where they aren't, you must ask for it, because the cramps are not an easy-peasy thing to handle. Your body needs proper rest and so you must take menstrual leave if you are a working woman.
3 - Talk to your partner and male friends about it without hesitation:
I agree that Nani has said not to talk about periods in front of men, but now, you must. After all, they are your people. They are educated boys and they will help you if they are aware of what you are going through. Begin conversations about menstruation without fear.
4 - A request for males:
You don't have a vagina, so kindly stop cracking jokes on PMS. Because you can't understand how irritating it feels when from about a week before you start getting hard cramps but still you have to work.
Kindly look into the above-mentioned subject.
Not at all yours,
5 - Eat happy food:
Eating food that makes you happy can help you bear with the pain of periods. Foods like chocolate even help in reducing cramps. We have another good reason to eat chocolates!!
6 - Do take a shower:
Please do not skip a shower on periods and take a warm shower concentrating the water flow on your lower abdomen and back. This eases the flow of blood and reduces the cramps.
These are a few things that every woman must take care of during her periods. And if you have a woman in your life, you must also take care of these things.
Take a step and make menstruation a widely discussed subject!
Just Like India's Padman did!