New Delhi: A comprehensive report on menstrual hygiene management in India was released by NGO Sulabh International on Monday (December 11) found that girls are “fearful” of using school toilets during menstruation owing to lack of water, soap, sanitation and missing doors. According to the report, the fear in school girls provokes absenteeism from schools during their menstrual cycle.
“Our data indicates that girls are fearful of using school toilets during menstruation owing to lack of water, soap, sanitation, missing doors and taps, and even missing dustbins,” the report by Sulabh International said.
“This provokes absenteeism from schools during periods, which implies that for up to 60 days in a school year a menstruating girl is either unable to attend classes or goes half-heartedly, feeling ill-at-ease,” it said.
“It emerges from our findings that distance from home to school is not as big a deterrent for girls to miss school, as is lack of menstrual hygiene management facilities,” it added.
The report further stated that it is a “forced choice” for the school girls to stay at home during their menstrual cycle.
“If school girls do not get regular menstrual hygiene material such as pads, they find it safer to stay at home. It is a forced choice when young girls choose security, privacy and safety of their home to manage their periods over the dismal absence of sanitation and menstrual hygiene management facilities in schools,” the report said.
According to the NGO, the study was conducted in 14 districts across 7 states of India including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.
The research involved a sample size of 4,839 women and girls in 22 blocks and 84 villages covering diverse ethnicities in the country’s remote areas.
The report suggested that community toilets as well as toilets in workplaces with washing areas, bathing cubicles, and running water must be provided.
“If all toilets are more menstrual hygiene management friendly and safe in terms of sanitary dignity and security to change and dispose of menstrual hygiene products, then women and girls can achieve more robust participation in education and employment. Schools should be provided with separate toilets for girls with running water through tap connection and proper storage tanks,” the report suggested.
The report further suggested that toilets in homes, public places and workplace should be properly constructed with regular water supply.
“There should be a separate room for women workers in factories and farms, and in community and coastal workplaces to enable them to change their menstrual pads and clean themselves,” the report said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.