Indian medical students use pads and poems to tackle period taboos

Indian medical students use pads and poems to tackle period taboos | Source: The Guardian, Oct 7 2016 |

Women on their way to becoming doctors write haikus about menstruation as one small step towards breaking the silence on the subject 


Women wait for an underground train in Delhi. One study says that roughly 20% of girls aged 12-18 drop out of school in India due to menstruation-related issues. Photograph: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

When Kavya Menon first brought up the idea of installing a sanitary pad dispenser in the girls’ bathroom of Calicut Medical College, fellow students said she shouldn’t really discuss such matters openly at a student union meeting, where boys were present. “It was strange. I mean, we’re supposed to become doctors yet some people would say, ‘How can you talk about this here?’”

For Menon, the sanitary pad dispenser was a necessity: “If you start your period in the middle of the day and you can’t find a pad, you have to go all the way to the hostel, which is at least a 10-minute walk away. There’s no time between classes to go there.”

Periods are only ever mentioned in hushed tones, Menon said. “You can’t raise your hand in class and tell your professor you need to leave because of period pain, for example. You have to be discreet.”

Read the complete article.

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