New Delhi- Communeeti, a non-profit organization working on community-centric policy-making and implementation organised a webinar on “Policy and implementation challenges on menstrual health management” in partnership with Sommet Innovation and Research Foundation. Ninong Ering, Former Union Minister and MLA, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh who introduced the private member Menstruation Benefits Bill was the Chief Guest.
Ering, spoke about the breaking the taboo around menstruation and his experience of introducing the private members’ bill on menstruation benefits. Calling the war against taboo, a beautiful one, he said that whenever a taboo is broken, something vitalising happens. He talked about the history of affirmative action around menstruation in India and elsewhere and called for making workplaces conducive for women. He also talked about how his legislative initiative on this issue led to attention by media, civil society organisations and businesses leading to more affirmative action. He also talked about his experience of working with women self help groups in his constituency and the satisfaction which comes from enabling economic empowerment of women.
“The issue of menstruation benefits has to be seen with a larger lens of bridging the gender gap and removing hurdles which exist either due to biological reasons or due to societal biases”, he further added. He also exhorted women to break all glass ceilings and be bold, ambitious and fearless.
Ms. Shalini Jha, Founder, Project Alharh which is working on menstrual health in Bhagalpur, Bihar talked about her experiences of working at grassroots while Bihar grapples with the double crisis of Covid-19 pandemic and floods. She talked about the need to accord top priority to menstrual health in policy making and the need for systemic change. She also shared her thoughts on lack of representation of women on the decision-making table, social marginalisation and layers of discrimination faced by women.
Dr. Priya Jyoti of Lady Hardinge Medical College spoke about the health issues around menstruation and busted many myths prevalent in the society. She talked about the greater need for sensitisation around menstruation among both men and women. She also raised the important issue of including men in the family in conversations around menstruation.
Ms. Kanksshi Agarwal, Founder Netri Foundation talked about period poverty, health related issues, breaking the social stigma around menstruation and ensuring gender-inclusive workplaces. She also talked about fighting the institutional discrimination against women.
Ms. Simran Gauba, Founder Nadora Initiative talked about her experience of working around menstrual hygiene in Delhi-NCR amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and underlined the need for raising awareness on this very important issue.
The webinar was moderated by Ms. Kritika Ramya, Faculty, Symbiosis Law School, Noida.