We use the F word openly. Why shy when it comes to Periods?

The Goodness of IndiBloggers Meet:Learnings, Initiatives and Goodies!
One of the biggest things I did in May, in addition to launching my Fibromyalgia Awareness blog, was attending the Stayfree | UNICEF Women's IndiBlogger Meet. The meet that was organised around the theme Women For Change succeeded in bringing about a change in the way we would think and act from now.

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!
Only 12 percent women in India use sanitary napkins!
Our jaws dropped. But wait, the shock was greater when blogger 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?
We gained lots of insights and realised the urgent need for better health & hygiene for women.

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.


  1. Right there, with you on this! Completely endorse that every woman should be equal to another woman, before we battle it out with the men. Wonderful thought, beautiful words,insightful day and an educated tomorrow.

  2. Hwy thanks for the comment! In fact I think why should we take men as the benchmark? Women shoudl be equal to women; men should be equal to men! What say!

  3. What's important is that we as girls understand that it is how nature meant it to be and hence there's nothing to be ashamed or scared about it.
    Hope that people's perceptions about it just like ours did. :)

  4. Good write up - you have summarised it well.

  5. Lovely writeup. And, gosh I didn't think either that this could be a reason for girls to stop going to school. I remember, I was permanently on tenterhooks when I started menstruating. My uniform was white, and it used to be nightmare to keep watching my back. The girls of course helped each other. The worst part was that we could not use toilet whenever we wanted. College was way better in that sense. There was a biology teacher who told us girls that she always kept extra sanitary napkins with her, so any girl could come to her in times of emergency. I can go on and on. And, I studied in Bombay. Imagine the state of girls in smaller towns and villages.

  6. Thanks Rachna! Watching each other's back... i remember our college days! But, this is the case in Mumbai so we can imagine how tough it would be elsewhere!

  7. Hey you are so right Varsh! Hope the perceptions change soon!

  8. A good round up... that meet was in many ways an eyeopeners, things most of us take for granted came up..

  9. That was simply commendable..!A wonderful initiative an even wonderful read..!

  10. The aka pinashpinash and nirvana for the lovely comments!

  11. Hi Anuradha,

    I have written a post on that, do check it and it is about just accepting things and moving (http://pkperception.blogspot.in/2012/01/dont-be-ashamed.html)
    I am glad you people discussed it openly and hope that this happens regularly. It's the mindset that needs to be changed and particularly we men/guys have to change our thinking since this is a mans world. I feel the more we all talk about it, the more these issues can be handled in a better manner...Cheers...:)


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