Innovating evidence-based solutions to gender inequity in marginalised communities
Across urban and rural India, menstruation is believed to be ‘impure’. Overwhelming stigma, taboos and a lack of knowledge prevents women, girls and people who menstruate from seeking healthcare, making informed choices about their bodies and participating in school and the workforce, ultimately exacerbating existing gender inequity.
PeriodShala sessions enact behaviour change at an individual and community level to:
Dispel stigma, shame and harmful taboos to improve participation and advocacy
Normalise reproductive bodily processes to encourage dialogue and health-seeking behaviour
Improve hygienic practices and self-care to reduce the risk of infection or illness
Encourage informed choice to improve agency
Breaking the silence around these taboo topics mobilises men, boys, community leaders, teachers and healthcare workers to build supportive environments where menstruators can advocate for their needs and reclaim agency over their bodies. Learn more about how we seek to reduce gender inequity in marginalised communities.
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Over four weeks, our trained male and female Aarogya Saathis create safe spaces to share education around:
Reproductive biology during various life stages
Nutrition and self-care
Critical thinking around reproductive practices and taboos
Hygiene, infections and disorders
Personal care and hygiene product information
Initiating dialogue with community, family and friends
Explore Our Programmes
Aanchal shared nervously that she did not know what periods were, as no one had ever spoken to her about them. She was scared that her mother would scold her.
Sakshi, a Period Fellow and PeriodShala facilitator, took a moment to chat to Aanchal about hygienic practices and products until she felt a little calmer. After the session, Sakshi approached Aanchal’s mother to explain that Aanchal had gotten her period and that she wished to use a period tracker to follow her cycle. Aanchal’s mother was sceptical at first but Sakshi was able to explain how Aanchal could use the printed calendar to understand her body better. Aanchal was grateful for the safe space and felt more confident in facing the changes to her body.
Anchal (name changed for anonymity) is 12 years old and got her first period during class. She tried to make sense of what was happening to her as her classmates looked on giggling.
The intensity of the infection had prevented Rekha from visiting her friends and family for one year, out of embarrassment for the way she had to sit.
Rekha learnt about infections during a PeriodShala session in her community. By the third session, she had visited a gynaecologist and discovered that she had a severe urinary tract infection. Within three days of taking the prescribed medication, Rekha shared that she had started visiting her friends and relatives again as she was feeling much better. She realised that neglecting her own health ended up affecting others too, and in order to care for them, she had to prioritise her own health.
Rekha (name changed for anonymity) had been experiencing itching in her genital area causing her to sit with her legs spread apart to minimise irritation. She continued to prioritise caring for the household and children over seeing a doctor.