“Period. End of a Sentence.”
Not sure if anyone saw the Oscars (yea, I didn’t either), but I heard about a short film, a Netflix original, that won in that category. The movie is called “Period. End of Sentence”. It’s less than 30 min long and gives a peek inside the issue of menstruation in India.
I say the word issue not because menstruation is a problem, but because in places like rural India, it’s not talked about. There’s no open conversation about what it is, or what it means, or the importance of sanitation during that time.
In India, everything is tied to religion, including the reasons for why certain things happen. This is especially true in rural areas where education and conversation about these types of things doesn’t occur. With a topic like periods, the only explanation that some of these people know boils down to “oh it happens every month, but women are considered to be dirty”. As a result, women aren’t allowed to pray in temples during their periods, and some are even made to sleep outside the home.
You can imagine the conditions that these women deal with. Added to this, many young females end up dropping out of school due to lack of access to sanitary napkins.
Well, pads are expensive. As an alternative, women use old scraps of cloth. However, cloth scraps need to be changed more frequently–you can imagine how much protection, or lack thereof, is being provided. Many rural schools don’t have restrooms, or restrooms are far away. Can you imagine how difficult it is to cope on a given period day? As shown in the short film, many women just abandon school altogether to make life easier for themselves.
Men and Periods
Given the lack of discourse, men are also ignorant.
Why the lack of conversation?
Shame. Lack of teaching in school. Social stigma. And of course going back to religion, they’re considered dirty. So they instead try to hide it or avoid addressing it.
Why am I posting about this topic?
I think one of the best ways to bring about change is to educate people and to make them aware of the very thing that needs change and education.
There is a gentleman in India who has been one of the mechanisms of this change in that he invented a method to create a cheaper, better quality pad. A movie was made about him as well, chronicling his story from idea to the invention of his final product. The movie is on Netflix and is called “Padman”. It’s a great story, and it made me so happy to watch it.
“Period. End of sentence” references this gentleman and his invention. The hope is that his machine will be in each and every village, town, and city in India and provide affordable, high quality pads for everyone. Doing so not only makes menstruation safer for women but also starts the conversation about it, not just amongst women, but amongst men as well.
What better way to empower women than to free them from social stigma and help them stay in school?
Find out more
Please go watch the movies I mentioned, and if you’re interested in donating to help support the widespread use of this machine in rural India then visit www.thepadproject.org.
Disclaimer: I do NOT get any kickbacks from the organization if you donate. I’m just trying to do my part in spreading the word.