Harmful social norms, stigma, misconceptions and taboos surrounding menstruation marginalize women and girls. In India, menstruating women are often viewed as dirty, impure, sick and even cursed. In 2021, Save Kids Trust is focusing its work on women's issues. As part of this work, we're implementing a new education program by which community leaders will run workshops designed to dispel menstruation myths, providing women with the knowledge and resources they need to have healthy periods.
Due to taboos surrounding menstruation, Indian women are often marginalized during their periods: they can be banned from cooking, eating certain foods, and even praying in village temples. This social stigma negatively impacts both the mental and physical health of women and girls. Studies show that more than 80% of women in India unknowingly use unhygienic menstruation self-care and that 3 in 10 girls are unaware of menstruation at their first period.
This project will erode longstanding taboos informed by harmful socio-cultural norms using community-based education. Building on our existing relationships in the local villages, women will be recruited as SKT Health Leaders, and equipped with the knowledge and resources to conduct health awareness sessions focused on menstruation and reproductive health. We will leverage existing training materials and methods to sensitively confront myths and provide education on good menstruation hygiene.
Menstruation taboos are the product of social norms that endure overtime and are reinforced by communities over generations. The impacts of these taboos are harmful for Indian women. When we provide education to girls and young women (and their brothers, cousins fathers, uncles, and husbands), we help communities confront the very social norms that harm them. Women and girls will pass this education and these tools on to their daughters and sons.