Period Awareness Drive Empowers Women in India

Nandini Dalmia
November 17, 2023

In a transformative effort to reduce stigma and foster awareness of feminine hygiene and safety, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) India and Edjustice Foundation joined forces to conduct a two-day Period Awareness Drive in Chatarpura Village, in the heart of Rajasthan. Running from September 30 to October 2, 2023, this initiative aimed to address the menstrual challenges faced by women in a state where cultural taboos often surround the topic.

A group of women in saris sitting on the ground, creating awareness about period hygiene.

Group of women listen to presentation on sustainable feminine hygiene products.

The drive commenced by immersing itself in the fabric of the community. The first day was dedicated to surveying the target area and engaging in conversations with women to understand the unique challenges they faced regarding menstruation. In a state like Rajasthan, where societal norms can often shroud discussions on women’s health, this initial phase was crucial in tailoring the subsequent activities to the community’s specific needs.

The first day unfolded with participants focusing on spreading information about sustainable menstruation and distributing sanitary products in a government senior secondary school in Chatarpura. The team recognized the environmental challenges of non-biodegradable sanitary pads, especially in regions lacking proper waste disposal systems. In response, the drive advocated for fully compostable pads and reusable alternatives such as menstrual cups, cloth pads, and bio-degradable cotton pads. Practical guidance was provided to ensure that the adoption of these products translated into long-term benefits for both the users and the environment.

The team’s visit to the Anganwadi Centre on the second day served as a vital platform for educating the village’s women about sustainable menstruation hygiene products while distributing them. This was a transformative effort to break barriers and foster awareness of menstruation through direct interaction with women who had embraced the sustainable options, allowing the team to assess the effectiveness and acceptance of the products. Beyond this, the drive aimed to dispel common myths and misconceptions surrounding menstruation. In a culturally rich state like Rajasthan, where conservative beliefs may prevail, addressing these myths is instrumental in fostering a more open and informed dialogue about women’s health.

As part of a Period Awareness Drive in India, a group of empowered women in pink saris gather together, sitting on the ground.

Group of women listen to presentation on sustainable feminine hygiene products.

The success of the drive was evident in the willingness of over 70% of the women to make the switch to sustainable menstrual products. This shift not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also represents a significant stride towards breaking age-old taboos that have surrounded menstruation in Rajasthan.

In Rajasthan, where traditions and cultural norms often dictate conversations around women’s health, the Period Awareness Drive in Chatarpura Village has emerged as a beacon of change. By tailoring the initiative to the unique needs of the community and promoting sustainable practices, the drive has not only empowered women but has also initiated a cultural shift towards more open discussions on menstruation. The success of this initiative serves as an inspiring example for future endeavors aimed at dismantling taboos and promoting women’s health in states with similar cultural landscapes.

GPF India and Edjustice Foundation’s collaborative effort in Chatarpura Village is a testament to the positive impact of targeted awareness and education initiatives on communities. By addressing the community’s specific needs and promoting sustainable menstrual products, the Period Awareness Drive has empowered women in Chatarpura to make informed choices about their health while fostering a culture of open dialogue surrounding menstruation. This success inspires future initiatives to break taboos and promote women’s health across diverse communities.

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