#HappyToBleed: A Campaign By Women For Women Against Menstrual Taboos
Happy to Bleed is a campaign against menstrual taboos that prevail in our society. Women are considered ‘impure’ during menstruation, are barred from entering kitchens, are isolated within homes, are barred from going to religious places etc. Happy to Bleed is a counter-campaign launched against menstrual taboos and myths, and discrimination that women are subjected to through it. It acknowledges menstruation as a natural-biological process which has nothing to do with any ‘purity’. We see shaming menstruation as an important part in creating inferiority complex in women with respect to their bodies, which further instils patriarchy in the minds of women.
In present day world, menstrual taboos are intertwined with women’s mobility, her right to take her own decisions, her control over her body etc. As soon as a girl starts menstruating, a lot of insecurities around her sexual nature are built, and society starts rigidly guarding her sexual behaviour as well as other routine activities. Data reveals that 23% girls drop out of school once they start menstruating. The spaces of society shrink rapidly for women after this juncture of their lives. This leads to the denial of a lot of basic services like sanitation, health care, menstrual care, reproductive health etc. Also, according to a survey, 88% women do not have access to sanitary napkins, and are forced to use cloth, sand, cotton etc.
Our objectives are:
- Documenting the health condition of women during menstruation, and menstrual taboos that prevail in society. For this, we will require a team of researchers (independent or organizations). Hence, we appeal everyone to join the team for a better, comprehensive research.
- We apprehend that it is state’s responsibility to ensure menstrual care for all women, i.e. state should provide free menstrual care, invest in technology and infrastructure to cater women’s particular health concerns, instead of leaving this space to the profit mongering of market. We will give demand charters to different state’s concerned departments, and to the Health Ministry, India.
- We urge National Commission for Women to take a stand on menstrual taboos, and discrimination based on menstruation. We will be giving the demand charter to NCW after documentation.
For conducting research, we have made a sample excel sheet. Anyone who wants to work voluntarily with the team for research, can make required changes. The sample of the population must be either from working class (workers, or slum dwellers), or rural workers, and small peasantry. To access the excel sheet, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a copy.
Nikita Azad is a student activist, gender rights activist from Patiala, Punjab.