This IAS officer in Kashmir wants to break the taboo surrounding menstruation
Despite various awareness programmes, menstruation still remains a taboo subject in most areas, and especially in rural India.
The importance of menstrual health and hygiene still needs to be propagated to a large section of woman population in the country. The message that it’s okay to talk about menstruation and menstrual health needs to be reiterated continuously and consistently.
Syed Sehrish Asgar, an IAS officer and Deputy Commissioner of Budgam, Kashmir, has taken up the initiative to create awareness on menstruation among young girls who are stressed about the isolation they go through when they are on their period.
During the awareness session conducted by Syed Sehrish Asgar (Image: She The People)
Speaking to She The People she said,
“We have to try to create a society where women are concerned about their health and hygiene and do not feel ashamed of it. It’s their right to live with dignity, and the stigma around menstruation needs to be addressed. We need structures in our public spaces where they can feel comfortable.”
Syed Sehrish Asgar also organised the first all-woman conclave at the district headquarters. Her objective was to address the problems faced by girl students during menstruation.
Witnessing the lack of basic facilities like clean toilets in her district and almost 300 girls dropping out of 1,200 schools, Asgar took the matter into her own hands. She ordered that sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators to be installed in the premises of all Higher Secondary Girls’ schools and colleges in her district and also in Srinagar.
In a conversation with The Indian Express, she said,
“All the incinerators and sanitary napkins dispensers will be placed at 106 higher secondary schools, five-degree colleges, and one ITI in the district. Also, sanitary napkin dispensers will be placed at the DC’s office as well as in the Srinagar international airport that falls in the district.”
So far, there is no budget allocated either by the state or the central government for menstrual health. Thanks to the funds allocated for the state’s rural development, Asgar has been able to manage all the expenses for her initiative. Further requirements are met through assistance from the Airport Authority of India (AAI)’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Despite constant strife in the valley, Asgar is trying to create a safe environment for young girls. She said,
“We have to try and create a society where women are concerned about their health and hygiene and do not feel ashamed of it. It’s their right to live with dignity, and the stigma around menstruation needs to be addressed,” reports Indian Express.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)