According to a study reported in the India Times newspaper, around 70% of India’s 355 million menstruating girls and women cannot afford to purchase and use hygienic sanitary products.
Instead, they resort to unhygienic methods of absorption – like ashes, husks, sand or old rags – resulting in a much higher rate of urinary tract and reproductive tract infections.
Cultural and religious taboos maintain a silence around menstrual awareness.
About 23% of girls in India drop out of school after they start menstruating. If they stay in school, lack of access to menstrual products means they can miss up to 50 days of school per year.
Two thirds of rural households do not have access to a toilet, making open defecation part of their everyday life. This forces girls and women to also manage their periods in open fields, not having the dignity of privacy or the safety of adequate facilities.
For many of us around the world, this kind of unhygienic sanitary management is unthinkable. For millions of women in India, it is unavoidable.