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'Padwomen' in Madhya Pradesh manufacture sanitary napkins to fight age-old stigma

Think Change India
9th Feb 2018
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A group of women in Madhya Pradesh have come together to fight the age-old stigma and rigid notions against sanitary napkins in the society. In a small village Amba Khodra in Jhabua district, the women have begun manufacturing and selling sanitary napkins despite the strong opposition from village.

Image Source: Nai Duniya

With the aim to increase women’s menstrual hygiene in the village, a group of 10 tribal women have come together to form a self-help group ‘Padwomen’. The goal is to ensure that the women in village are free of the diseases caused due to clothes being used during menstruation.

The women faced many objections from the male members in the family, and were also threatened by the villagers to stop the sale of sanitary napkins. However, these 'padwomen' did not let anything deter them. While speaking with the ANI, the leader of this group, Hemlata, said,

Thanks to the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), we never had to look back or stop the initiative. Earlier, the villagers opposed the initiative. Now, not only they support it, but also elderly women buy these pads for their daughters and daughters-in-law.

While earlier the women in village would use clothes during menstruation, they now purchase sanitary napkins. The group presently earns nearly Rs 900-Rs 1,000, and manufactures 600-700 pads in a month.

According to WeForNews report, the DPM of National Rural Livelihood Mission Jhabua said,

Earlier, pads were not used, the issue was a taboo and never discussed. Women used old methods and fell prey to infections. We talked to them and they decided to start this. They faced severe opposition initially but slowly they made it possible.

With movies like Padman starring Akshay Kumar round the corner, this initiative by the women in a small rural village to change the age-old mindset against use of sanitary napkins and around menstruation in general reinstates the belief that things will change.

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