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Prathima
This is Pratima Mahapatra, working at CSM Technologies, Bhubaneswar as HR Consultant and a resident of Cuttack, Odisha. Highly ambitious professional, mother of two, a fitness freak and a blog writer by passion. I believe the motto of my life will be accomplished if my I could be able to bring some small changes in people's life.

Do you mean Periods? Shhhhh!! Don’t speak it aloud. It’s bad! Girl, please don’t go to the kitchen, you will contaminate the food. Have you ever been into such a situation where uttering the name itself has made you feel embarrassed? Yes, most of us feel the same because, in India, the period is a thing not to discuss in open voice or public.

Okay, let’s discuss. Menstruation is a natural phenomenon unique to girls and usually starts between the age of 11 and 14 years and is one of the indicators of the onset of puberty. And, once this phase is on, the socio-cultural life of women gets affected a lot due to the pressure of Taboos and myths related to it.

Culturally, menstruation is still considered to be dirty and impure in many parts of India. Disclosing the myths- The list of myths are numerous Restrictions like “Not entering the puja room” and the kitchen during menstruation are strictly implemented. Offering prayers and touching holy books by menstruating girls and women are considered as a sin.

It is believed that menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean and hence the food they prepare or handle pickles can get contaminated. How it feels when you are a new bride and after marriage, you are forced to sit in one corner of your house after you get your periods.

Women feel like untouchables! In rural India, the used clothes during periods are buried under the ground to avoid black magic. These taboos present in many rural societies impact women’s emotional state, lifestyle, and most importantly, health.

The hidden reasons for this myth are the cultural beliefs of impurity associated with periods in India. Vedic research says, this myth dates back to the Vedic times and is often linked to Indra’s slaying of Vritras. It has been declared in the Veda that guilt, of killing a Brahmin, comes every month as a menstrual period as women had taken upon themselves a part of Indra’s guilt.

However, in the Hindu faith, women are prohibited from participating in general life while menstruating. She must be “purified” before she is allowed to return to her family and daily chores of her life. Another reason dates back as the temples were made with a lot of steps in it, climbing long steps could cause the women pain as they experience cramps during periods.

If hygiene measures are taken into account, no scientific test has shown menstruation as the reason for the spoilage of any food. Periods – A thing to talk about in 2020 Exercise is prohibited during periods in India, many studies have revealed that adolescent girls believe that doing exercise/physical activity during menses aggravates the dysmenorrhoea while in reality; exercise can help relieve the menstruating women with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea and relieve bloating.

Huge Impact of Myths on Women’s Life Large numbers of girls in Rural India drop out of school when they begin menstruating. This includes over 23 per cent of girls in India. There are many schools in India which do not gender friendly neither they have the proper infrastructure nor adequate menstrual protection nor adequate sanitization measures for female teachers and girls.

Over 77 per cent of girls and women in India use old cloth during their periods, which is often reused. Furthermore, 88 per cent of women in India sometimes resort to using wood scraps, newspapers, dried leaves, and husk sand to absorb the blood.

We can Combat Menstruation Related Myths In the 21st century where these taboos have no real sense should not be a rule to torture women menstruating. We need to raise awareness among adolescent girls related to menstrual health and hygiene.

Young girls and boys often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation because their mothers and other teachers shy away from discussing the issues with them. The government has launched the National Menstrual Hygiene Scheme under the ‘Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram’ program in 2014.

The objective of the scheme is to promote menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in rural areas by supplying low-cost sanitary napkins. Increasing the role of the male partner can help to a great extent.

Men and boys typically know very less, but they need to understand menstruation so they can support their wives, daughters, mothers, students, employees, and peers. A new documentary, ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ which revealed the stigma of menstruation in rural communities in India, even won an Oscar in 2018.

The documentary, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi, follows the installation and impacts of a low-cost sanitary napkin machine made by Arunachalam Muruganantham. “Pad Man”– Such an amazing and illustrative example!

A guy from Pune called PravinNikam and his job is to speak about periods to the people and running an NGO named Roshni. He educates the villagers and spreads awareness about periods and its taboos myths related which have no meaning in our day to day lives.

We cannot feel shy or ashamed of this beautiful phenomenon gifted by God. We need to get our families talking about how it is unacceptable that it is already 2020 and people have been menstruating since the beginning of time, and yet periods are still an obstacle to success for more than half of our population, preventing them from achieving their full potential with education and economic mobility.

Periods are a virtue. One should take pride in having it owned. Let’s join hands to eradicate these superstitions prevailing in India for centuries now and allow our upcoming generation to live a taboo-free life.

Dr Vijaya Krishnan is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), and the Co-Founder and Director of Healthy Mother Sanctum, Natural Birth Centre. She is the leading official Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) in India and teaches the Healthy Mother Lamaze Accredited Childbirth Educator Program.

At her Natural Birth Centre, The Sanctum, she has pioneered a unique Collaborative Model of Care – Women receive Independent Midwife Led Care, through pre-conception, pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum, with back-up support and emergency infrastructure on site

Dr Nidhi Agarwal is a connoisseur of the Holistic approach to propagate medicine free lifestyle for the last 12 years! She is a Homeopathic physician, Lifestyle & Wellness Coach, Relationship Counsellor, a holistic healer and the Director of Prakash Holistic Health Care Centre (PHCC).

Dr Nidhi, a harbinger of holistically healing any individual body, mind and soul.  Her motto is to successfully guide her patients towards a lifestyle where they can cure their body from within by understanding the requirement of the body and nutrifying it by embracing home remedies and using ingredients from your kitchen, with the minimal or no medicinal intervention.

Period Hub is proud to have Dr Nidhi on the Advisory Board. We share the same value system and advocate the Natural way of living. Period Hub hopes to benefit from her rich experience and utilise her insights to enrich our workshop modules. We also hope we shall be able to extend her expert advise to our customers and bring them out of their Period Woes.

Hema Balakrishnan is a social entrepreneur and founder of The Conscious Storey – A Unit of Color D Earth – A Handmade Collective. Hema is an alumnus of the prestigious 10000 Women program, a Goldman Sachs funded Initiative for Women Entrepreneurs in 2009. In March 2012, she was chosen by the U.S Department of State to attend the coveted International Visitors Leadership Program on Women and Entrepreneurship by the U.S. Department of State.

An ardent believer of conscious living and sustainable lifestyle Hema mentors The Period Hub in its outreach programmes and activities at the grassroots level.

Kanupriya is a seasoned marketing leader with more than 16 years of rich hands-on experience in various facets of marketing. She has spearheaded the creation of multiple brands and digital properties in start-ups like Canvera and Seventymm, as well as managed the brand portfolio of large conglomerates like Godrej and Infosys.

Anuhya Korrapati is the founder of BeyondBlood (An organization that initiated an inclusive menstrual-mental health movement to spotlight PMDD and PME). She also sits as a member of the Steering Committee at Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation, Nepal and as a joint secretary at Indian Health Economics and Policy Association. As a Policy Fellow at YLAC, she was part of a four-member team that drafted the Menstruation Benefit Bill 2018 for the office of Mr. Ninong Ering, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and created an advocacy campaign for menstrual leave.

Her published work focused on menstruation, mental health, medical tourism, gender equity, and financial inclusion. During her time at the University of York, she has fostered her academic interests in heterodox perspectives, feminist economics, class-caste-gender intersectionality in health, the economics of disability, feminist and qualitative methodologies.

She received her MSc in Health Economics from the University of York and a recipient of the Postgraduate York Gold Award 2019. She had a brief stint at the Centre for Health Economics, York before moving back to India.

Period Hub is proud to have Anuhya on board as an advisor. We look forward to her expertise on Menstruation and Mental Health and be the guiding force for us as well as our customers.