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10th November 2023 (9 Topics)

Women in red: On an optimum menstrual hygiene policy

Context:

A menstrual hygiene policy should provide a range of services.

Judicial Directive for Menstrual Hygiene

  • Delayed Policy Formation: The Supreme Court's directive underscores the delayed formulation of a menstrual hygiene policy in India, despite menstruation being a fundamental aspect of women's lives.
  • Challenges in Menstrual Health: The existing challenges include issues of affordability and accessibility, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas. Poor menstrual health affects school attendance, educational performance, and overall reproductive health.
  • NFHS-5 Insights: The National Family Health Survey-5 reveals progress, but there is room for improvement. The link between education and menstrual hygiene emphasizes the need for a holistic approach beyond product distribution.

Holistic Menstrual Hygiene Policy

  • Affordability and Accessibility: The policy should ensure affordable access to menstrual hygiene products for all. This involves addressing economic barriers, particularly in rural areas.
  • Comprehensive Sanitation Facilities: Beyond products, the policy should guarantee clean toilets and water access in schools, public spaces, workplaces, and communities.
  • Lifelong Menstrual Health Support: The policy should encompass health and social support throughout the menstrual cycle, addressing reproductive health, mental well-being, and societal stigma.

Government Accountability and Action

  • Government Commitment: The policy formulation should reflect a genuine commitment to improving the lives of women. Prioritizing women's well-being is essential in policymaking.
  • Access to Education: Targeting educational institutions, the policy should ensure necessary support, facilities, and information for girls and transgender students to manage menstrual health and continue their education.
  • Holistic Approach: The government's strategy should be comprehensive, addressing challenges posed by poor menstrual health, preventing infections, promoting reproductive health, and combating societal taboos. Adopting such a strategy contributes to the empowerment and well-being of women in India.
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