Information and awareness regarding menstrual hygiene are indispensable. The lack of information results in infections, UTIs and other serious health concerns. In rural areas, the lack of information and access to menstrual hygiene products leads to multiple complications regarding one’s menstrual health. There are various struggles that women in rural areas go through when menstruating. Here are some major problems that they face:
1. The lack of enclosed spaces and privacy
The houses in a village are designed as open spaces. These homes usually have no washrooms or private spaces for the menstruators to be able to use their sanitary products easily. Mainstream Hindi film ‘Toilet’ highlights the need for toilets to be constructed inside a home or near it to help women in rural areas and solve privacy concerns.
2. Use of cloth or rags over other menstrual hygiene products
Periods act as taboo subjects and hence are never talked about or helped with. The lack of knowledge and economic stability create issues with prioritizing one’s period. In rural areas, menstruation is the least prioritized out of most if not all topics. A cloth accumulates bacteria if not washed properly and a rag causes irritation and serious infections. To help women sanitary napkins should be sold at a very nominal cost or should be a mandatory item distributed by the government in rural areas and poverty-ridden areas.
3. Lack of economic resources
Lack of economic resources restricts one’s ability to construct a bathroom and buy sanitary products. It also plays a role in the lack of education about menstruation and being able to use the right kind of sanitary products. To help with this, education should be promoted especially among women.
5. Tabooed practices
Women are not informed about their menstruation and their lack of information is tied to the taboo surrounding it. The information passed on to them is incomplete, old and unaltered as it has been passing down from one generation to another. Educating women and spreading awareness through camps and small gatherings can be a major solution to clarifying taboos and putting a stop to the spread of misinformation in rural areas.
“It is estimated that only 48% of adolescent girls are aware of the menstruation cycle before menarche. When girls get the period for the first time, due to lack of period education, they believe that they are ill and will die. Due to various stigma and taboos related to periods, rural girls and women don’t talk about periods because they think it is shameful and impure. Also, parents and female teachers don’t find it comfortable to talk about periods. It results in a lack of period information among rural women that might also lead to myths and misconceptions related to periods in the future.” (Bhowmick, 2021). With these ideas and the varied spread of misinformation, rural women are the ones to suffer through various hygiene-related illnesses. Menstruators often suffer from Urinary Tract Infections, Abnormal uterine bleeding or excessive menstrual bleeding etc. Therefore, it is essential to create proper information even in poverty-ridden areas as it is every menstruator’s right to be informed about menstruation to have better health and wellbeing.
1. Anmol Raina, Women Now. in, 5 Menstrual hygiene challenges faced by rural women in India!
2. Priyanka Bhowmick. June 21, 2021. Stree Sanman.