Stayfree, one of India’s leading women’s health and hygiene brand, recently hosted a panel discussion on one of the least-spoken about social topics in the country – Menstruation.
The aim of the discussion was to spread awareness about the need for educating young girls and women about menstrual hygiene. Following the discussion, the brand announced the launch of its free educational digital video content channel and a blog that will assist women in getting a better understanding about menstruation.
Panelists included experts and well-known personalities such as actress-activist Gul Panag, Dr Anita Soni (Obstetrics and Gynecology consultant at a popular city hospital), Sinu Joseph (counsellor and menstrual hygiene educator) and educationist Lina Ashar. During the event, it was revealed that in India, despite the economic progress that has been made in the last several years, over 80% of women still do not have access to adequate sanitary protection during menstruation. Feminine hygiene and menstruation is a sensitive topic and is not discussed openly, which is why women often continue to harbour myths and misconceptions about it, since no one from the family or friend circle is able to educate them. Additionally, mothers are often not in a position to guide their daughters correctly, since their own knowledge is limited. Over time, unhygienic practices due to low awareness and education levels can adversely impact the health and productivity of these women.
Said Ganesh Bangalore (GM, Marketing, Consumer Business, Johnson & Johnson India), “We strongly believe that education dispels fear and prepares young girls to recognise menstruation as being a natural process and face it with confidence. That’s why we are investing behind educating 100 million young girls in India over the next three years.” Added Gul, “Menstruation is a natural process and is not something that a woman or girl should be embarrassed about. I feel strongly about a woman’s right to educate herself and applaud the brand for holding this discussion.”
Said Dr Soni, “Today, almost every household will have at least one woman or girl who suffers from irregularities in her menstrual cycle but the reported cases will be few due to the stigma associated with talking openly about the red-letter day.”