While menstrual health and hygiene has always been the on the agenda of a country’s social development, it has perhaps, never occupied more reams of news space, and been open to debate, than at present.
Close on the heels of the much-awaited film Padman, based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who wore a sanitary napkin to understand women’s needs, and develop a low-cost alternative, the past few days have seen a host of celebrities participate in the #PadManChallenge, posting images of themselves holding up a sanitary pad on social media.
Men and women joined in, and as the film releases this weekend, it remains to be seen whether or not it lives up to the hype, but it surely has garnered attention to the cause of raising awareness on menstrual health.
Karisma Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Aamir Khan, PV Sindhu, Radhika Apte, and many others participated in the challenge.
Manushi Chhillar is not far behind in the campaign on menstrual hygiene. Miss World 2017 is on a world tour – from city to city and country to country - spreading the message that 'Freedom From Shame' of menstruation is essential for healthier and happier women.
She advocated for the need for political parties to include menstrual hygiene as part of their manifestoes but was quick to add that the issue was not just about politicians. “Every individual has a social responsibility. That can push for change in the society,” Manushi told the media.
Manushi hails from Haryana, whose chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was recently lauded for announcing free supply of sanitary napkins to girls in state schools. However, Manushi believes these are short-term arrangements. Her vision is to be able to develop a "sustainable system" of manufacturing, selling and buying.
A cause close to her heart, creating awareness on menstrual hygiene was a social project presented by Manushi at the Miss World contest. It also won her the Beauty with a Purpose title.
(With inputs from IANS)