World Menstrual Hygiene Day: Periods Don’t Stop in a Pandemic

How are migrant women’s periods being taken care of? Are girls in villages getting access to sanitary napkins?

Her Health
1 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

We all seen the heartbreaking visuals of migrants walking home. What about the women migrants, managing menstruation or pregnancy and more?

Women's needs are often an afterthought - in fact, union minister Smriti Irani tweeted on 29 March (after the lockdown began) clarifying that sanitary napkins must indeed be classified as essential goods.

Since needs are an afterthought, policies around women's needs become an afterthought too - and therein lies the problem.

FIT spoke to Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India to see how the pandemic has impacted those who menstruate.

Despite the policy delay, periods don't stop for pandemics, and with affordable pad making factories shut down in rural India, is there a mechanism to ensure pads reach women?

“In India only 30% of girls and women have access to sanitary pads.”
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India

Schools are the primary distribution centres for girls and adolescents and with these shut, many girls are left without alternatives. Periods are one of the major reasons girls drop out of school, and so menstrual management systems are also about girls education, access to hygienic toilets, girls health being taken seriously - so how is this situation being managed?

How are migrant women periods being taken care of - and what provisions can be set up here?

According to Muttreja, NGOs are the only ones distributing pads right now - and she explains how the government, especially the Ministry of Education and Women and Child Development can step in.

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