In a society which usually treats issues surrounding menstruation as a stigma and a taboo, the outlook of people of Rajasthan‘s Kharadi Phala village towards this subject is a testament to the positive change which is slowly, but steadily engulfing the country.
Situated approximately 70 km from Udaipur, Kharadi Phala houses around 290 families. It was here that Team Goonj, under its Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC) initiative, conducted a meeting primarily to raise awareness and foster education on the subject of menstruation and women’s health. To effectively conduct the meeting, informative banners and posters were put in place, which surprisingly, attracted an unusual crowd. As a refreshing surprise, 10 men spent a lot of time reading the posters and also participated in the NJPC session. The attendees, comprising 10 men and 60 women, gave a patient hearing to the insights and information furnished by Team Goonj. When Team Goonj wished to speak with the women attendees about their menstrual problems, the men folk quietly excused themselves from the session for the last 10 minutes, conscious of the fact that their presence could be a possible hindrance to an open discussion. Such was the positive outlook of the men that they wanted, women and men alike, to be educated about menstrual hygiene. They were even supportive of women expressing their discomfort or problems faced due to menstruation. Stressing on the importance of the NJPC session, some men expressed saying, “Activities such as these are very important for women. If they are quiet and won’t speak up about the difficulties and discomfort they face, how can we understand their difficulties?”
The outlook of these positive-thinking, open-minded gentlemen of Kharadi Phala village, hopefully, will soon be shared by many others, shunning the unnecessary and unwarranted taboos and stigmas surrounding this subject.