“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education”

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“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education”

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Period. End of sentence, a documentary tackling taboos around menstruation in India, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short in 2019.

On the night of the Oscars, Rayka Zehtabchi, the 25 year old Iranian-American director said she could not «believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar». All the more reason for us to keep discussing this issue here today.

Period. End of sentence.

The 26-minutes documentary, still streaming on Netflix, is being filmed in a small village called Kathikhera, outside of Delhi, where a group of women is fighting stigma and patriarchy to start a local factory manufacturing washable, re-usable, pads. With a good dose of humour, great clarity and candour, this documentary helps us understand how big an issue the taboo around menstruation still is in developing countries.

So what is the issue exactly ? Here are a few facts and figures.

  • On average a woman menstruates for about 7 years during their lifetime. (Yes you read this right !)
  • Globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services and in Least Developed Countries only 27 per cent of the population has a handwashing facility with water and soap at home. Managing periods at home is a major challenge for women and adolescent girls who lack these basic facilities at home.
  • Poor menstrual hygiene can pose physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. Many girls and women have limited options for affordable menstrual materials. Providing access to private facilities with water and safer low-cost menstrual materials could reduce urogenital disease.
  • Many girls do not have complete and accurate understanding of menstruation as a normal biological process. Educating girls before their first period — and, importantly, boys — on menstruation, builds their confidence, contributes to social solidarity and encourages healthy habits. Such information should be provided at home and at school.  

Having trouble managing their period at home and even more so outside their homes leads to another major and often disregarded issue as girls often have to miss school to stay at home during their period.

Dignity for Her, a report released in 2015 by Dasra, a foundation based in Mumbai and the Bank of America, found that “girls tend to miss school six days a month on an average due to the inability to manage their periods at school. This eventually contributes to almost 23 per cent of girls dropping out of school on reaching puberty, which critically undermines their potential as individuals and future workers.” 

The Pad Project : “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education”

The Pad Project is the non profit that helped make this documentary, and this story, possible. They raised the funds to buy the first pad-machine and are now pursuing their fundraising efforts to purchase more and more machines for other villages around India, always in the hope to end the stigma surrounding menstruation.

You can find out more about this topic and other organizations that support this cause here: 

5 Organizations to support if you watched Period. End of Sentence.  

Menstruation in Crisis by Bright the Mag

 


Through these Stories, Azickia aims to highlight social impact initiatives, in France and around the world, while not necessarily adhering to all the opinions and actions implemented by them. It is and will remain in Azickia’s DNA to fight against all forms of discrimination and to promote equality for all.

 

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