As a man this should not be my topic of discussion. I am no way bothered and the women in my house manage this issue all by themselves. This is never discussed with me or even in front of me. Then what made me write this?
I am bothered about this issue because I am concerned about women empowerment in India and this issue is closely related to the empowerment issue. As a men’s rights activist I have always wondered why India is lagging far behind in terms of human development and comparable only to African countries today (source: UNDP human development report – http://parthasadhukhan.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/indias-human-development-vis-a-vis-the-globe/).
My study on this subject reveals that most of the factors leading to women empowerment and gender equality are closely linked with their education (can be seen in the above article). From the HDR it is clear that Indian women lack much needed secondary education and the need of the hour is to focus on the same. When I researched on the possible reasons why the education spread is less among women especially rural women I came across studies done by researchers like Prof. Linda Scott of Said Business School, Oxford.
Her research shows that post-pubescent girls were missing school as many as five days each month due to inadequate menstrual care. Other activities such as work, chores and playing with other children are also restricted. In rural locations the impact of menstruation upon the girls was particularly noticeable where there were no, or inadequate, toilet or washing facilities, no privacy, and the girls had walks of 2 hours or more to attend school.
There are other studies by Aruna Wilson and UNICEF that show the same result of girl students dropping out of the school for same health related reasons.
A country like India that is already reeling under poverty, many of our parents have no choice but to allow the girl child to drop out of school simply because they can’t afford to educate the girl child and maintain their health standards with proper sanitary napkins. It is because affording healthy Sanitary Napkins is Just Not Possible for most of the rural parents in India and that is the reason our women are not getting proper education.
My perception about this issue was changed when I saw this amazing video –
This entirely changed my perspective to this issue and I felt the need to come forward to do something on this issue and make a positive change.
I felt that if a less educated, rural man like Muruganatham can make so much difference to this nation for a cause that may not directly bother men, why can’t I.
So as a man and a men’s rights activist who is bothered more about men’s issues, I feel compelled to educate everyone around me about the need of improving women’s health so that we have more education among our future mothers and make arrangements to provide for economic sanitary napkins to them. Only then we can stop wide spread notion that men in India do not respect women and will make a positive impact that even men can make a lot of difference to an issue that is known primarily as a woman’s issue.