|The Goodness of IndiBloggers Meet:Learnings, Initiatives and Goodies!|
After the initial interaction and introductions, we were taken through a couple of presentations. When I heard the word 'presentation' the first thought that came to my mind is, "Oh... a boring ppt... that too on a Sunday!" But the presentations, complete with shocking facts and numbers, grabbed our attention right from the start until the end. Actually, they stirred our brains!
Suranga Date, while moderating a session, brought to light another fact that made us rethink all that we used to think about female school dropouts in rural areas.
Girls in many of the rural areas stop going to school after primary education because of lack of sanitary awareness, not using sanitary napkins, no sensitization among boys in the school and of course, inadequacy/absence of clean washrooms in schools.
Damn, who would have thought that? All I easily assumed (post my regular discussions with my house-helps) was that it is always due to the mentality that in rural areas if the girl is highly educated, getting an equally qualified groom who won't demand dowry is a tough and near-impossible task.
This was my third IndiBlogger meet and while all the meets they organise are wonderful experiences, this one especially was awesome. It involved one of the most meaningful discussions I've ever been part of. Read on to know why.
We openly discussed Periods. Yes, I used the word Periods instead of Chums, Friends, Aunty, Menstruation and what not! There was an understanding that if we women feel odd / embarrassed talking about it, how on earth will we ever sensitize those around us and those far away in the interiors of the country? We use words like sexy, the F word, etc. so comfortably now, then why should we feel embarrassed talking about something that's so natural and a part of our life as a woman!
Check out the webcast:
So we all went on sharing our little stories and discussing endlessly:
- Did you know you about it when you got it the first time? (Those days Mr. Google didn't exist!)
- Are the men in your house sensitized about it?
- Are we all comfortable purchasing napkins from the chemist?
- Are you allowed to touch pickles? Or enter the temple?
- When you are angry do they always say you must be PMSing?
- How do you tell about it to your children?
- How to reach the rural areas? How to connect with the men and women there?
- What about the cost of sanitary napkins that many cannot afford? (Here we learned that Stayfree, UNICEF and some NGOs along with government are providing free / super subsidised sanitary napkins in villages of some states. But we have a long way to go! Remember the 12 percent I mentioned earlier in this post?)
- How can we contribute as bloggers?
It was a great surprise to have Prasoon Joshi at the meet. He recited some lines written by him like 'Babul mori itni araj sun lijo...' and 'Mujhe pankh de do...'. The rich interaction we had with him highlighted the fact that as bloggers we can do a lot to bring about a change.
All in all, we connected on an issue that wasn't highlighted as an 'issue' until now. And we all discovered some alarming facts and improved the way we think. We will contribute to change things in whatever capacity we can. I guess, the theme Women For Change was very apt for the meet! Period.