"advocacy on real-world issues remains our driving force."
Activist beauty brand The Body Shop India is working with Child Rights and You (CRY) to raise awareness about period shame in India.
Through its partnership with the leading Indian NGO, The Body Shop India aims to normalise the conversation around menstruation.
Period shame in India is common.
The country’s lack of access to menstrual health supplies and education is a detriment to many Indian women and girls.
The UN also recognises menstrual hygiene as a key global health issue.
Now, The Body Shop India’s movement with CRY aims to create an inclusive conversation about period shame.
They also want to bring long-term changes to disadvantaged communities.
Twenty per cent of rural Indian girls leave school after getting their first period. This is often a result of social stigma and poor access to menstrual products.
After domestic chores, the biggest reason for Indian girls missing school is the lack of menstrual facilities.
Plus, the outbreak of Covid-19 has only restricted access to safe period products and menstrual health awareness.
As a result, 88% of menstruating Indian women use unsanitary materials such as dried leaves, ash, wood shavings, and newspaper.
Now, The Body Shop India and CRY are partnering up to create period awareness and raise funds for period projects in pandemic-hit communities.
They will also collect sealed period products at exclusive The Body Shop stores to donate to local communities in need.
As well as this, The Body Shop stores will be collecting digital pledges from the community. These pledges include:
- Never hiding period products and carrying them with pride
- Telling a male family member about periods and having open conversations at home
- Being honest about period experiences and using the word with friends instead of code words
- Making communities a period-friendly environment, supporting education about period shame and providing quality products, private facilities and disposable units
- Asking schools to include expert period education into the curriculum
Speaking of their new partnership to end period shame, The Body Shop India’s CEO Shriti Malhotra said:
“Our advocacy on real-world issues remains our driving force.
“With our core focus on feminism and female empowerment, there is no denying that the pandemic has worsened the already critical issue of period shame and menstrual access.
“The statistics in our country around this are appalling and there can be no letting up in pushing this conversation forward in a post-pandemic India.
“This is a change that each of us has the power to make – by speaking out honestly about menstruation, taking personal action in our own spaces towards it and walking the talk in putting our financial support towards those who need this help the most.
“Shame-free periods, safe menstrual products and accurate menstrual education is not a womens’ cause – it is a human cause.”
Also speaking of the new partnership, Child Rights and You (CRY)’s CEO Puja Marwaha said:
“Field experiences gathered by CRY suggest that periods is a major reason behind girls dropping out of schools – a fact that is echoed by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data which indicates that 57% of adolescent girls between 15-19 years are blessed with any hygienic form of protection during their menstrual cycles.
“CRY is delighted to partner with The Body Shop, and together we intend to create social awareness about menstrual hygiene, and at the same time, attempt to amplify voices demanding the access to free and quality sanitary napkins, safe disposal mechanisms, functional toilets and regular awareness sessions on menstrual hygiene.
“We both strongly believe that awareness is the key to break the taboo and shame related to periods in our society.”
Through their initiative, The Body Shop India and CRY are working to provide menstrual health awareness, education and free period products to over 10,000 people.
Their campaign will benefit disadvantaged girls and women from slum communities.
Sessions to educate adolescent girls and boys on menstrual health and hygiene will also be available.
As well as this, videos and movie screenings will be provided to raise awareness and tarnish myths surrounding menstruation.
The partnership also wants to create anemia check-up kiosks to screen for menstrual health conditions.