Forum to focus on removing menstruation-related taboos

Bharathidasan University will sensitize girls and women in slums and villages on personal and menstrual hygiene through a newly formed forum, Women Involved in Sanitation and Hygiene (WISH), launched ín Tiruchi on Friday. The university has proposed to reach rural women through NSS volunteers.

Through subsequent activities, WISH would educate women on usage and environment-friendly disposal of sanitary napkins, said K.Meena, Vice Chancellor, Bharathidasan University.

Releasing the WISH brochure, she said the forum has been formed to create awareness on menstrual hygiene in the wake of the State government’s proposal to distribute free sanitary napkins to adolescent girls, lactating mothers and women prisoners. The forum would focus on removing taboos related to menstruation, encourage building of girl-friendly toilets and installation of incinerators in educational institutions.

NSS units in constituent colleges and affiliated co-educational and women’s colleges would be involved in implementing the objectives of WISH. With 279 units in 95 affiliated colleges spread over eight districts in central Tamil Nadu, the varsity boasts of the highest number of NSS units in the State, Ms. Meena said. The best performing NSS unit would be awarded. The forum would also deliberate on making menstrual hygiene management feasible for differently abled women. Conveying key messages pertaining to menstrual health through performing arts and educating women teachers in schools, self-help groups and women’s clubs were suggested.

Launching the WISH website, K.Manimekalai, vice-chancellor, Mother Teresa Women’s University, Kodaikanal, said women continue to struggle for access to basic needs like sanitation. Academicians have a responsibility to educate women on personal hygiene and parents should pass on information to children. Infections that stem from lack of personal hygiene are linked to maternal mortality, said Ramani Devi, vice-president, Tiruchi Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Society (TRIOGS). M.S. Ashraf, senior physician and senate member of the varsity said walking barefoot was a trigger for many disorders.

Jembaga Ramakrishnan, coordinator, All Ladies Club of Tiruchi and L.Ganesan, NSS coordinator and organizing secretary, WISH and Lakshmi Prabha, secretary, spoke.