Menstruation and the Cultural Taboos
Lack of menstrual knowledge, poor access to sanitary products and non-facilitating school environment can make it difficult for girls to attend school. Menstrual hygiene is not just important for women or people going through it but also to achieve gender equality, it is important that girls can attend and reach their full potential in schools. There are a lot of studies explaining poor sanitation systems in schools of lower-middle-income countries. This results in absenteeism, lower enrollment, even dropouts. If the younger generation will not educate themselves how will the future of their respective country grow? Menstruation comes with the word ‘taboo’ because cultural and religious are attached with it rather than facts and knowledge. To gain more knowledge on these taboos that are being followed in different parts of the world I started my research through online database under Academic Search Complete. I tried to look for Scholarly (Peer Reviewed Journals) and got almost four articles supporting my research question.
This topic is important for research, because this problem is a natural process and just because it’s happening naturally and we humans cannot stop it, it should not hinder our style life at all. Menstruating population is a legit and visible percentage of population and if something affects their living, it will affect a lot of things associated with them. A country’s economy, education, family, and future generation. To avoid being teased or humiliated, many girls stay home from work or school. Girls who stay home four days out of every month for their period miss over a month of school each year. This puts girls who are already less likely to have education opportunities further behind. Also, this research helped me understand the process of menstruation in more details and clear the misconceptions and wrong beliefs which I had been told.
Hoskins, Janet. “The Menstrual Hut and the Witch’s Lair in Two Eastern Indonesian Societies.” Ethnology, vol. 41, no. 4, Fall 2002, p. 317. Academic Search Complete, dcccd.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=22949060-4d00-45df-8554-08110d8b6d9d%40redis, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.
This article emphasizes how women are treated differently from men, in fact banished away from the whole society. Not in days of menstruation but giving birth to a newborn or feeding the newborn. In this article a woman expresses her experiences in two Indonesian society. She explains how these two societies varies even being part of one country. The purpose of including this article is because it explains how women spend most of the years in menstrual huts, away from their family and husband. Where the children they give birth to also grow up around that hut which shows that those children were never able to learn the things they should have learned in their early childhood development. The women and the child both suffer because of these cultural taboos of considering a woman impure all this time. This article also gives light on the point that some taboos even say that menstruation is witchy process that women’s go through because menstruation is associated with fertility and venereal diseases.
Johnson, Margarete., et al. “Title Ix & Menstruation.” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, vol. 43, no. 2, Summer 2020, pp. 225–279. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, search ebscohostcom.dcccd.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=145982137&site=ehost-live. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.
This article specifically claims that for some schoolchildren, menstruation can be
an insurmountable obstacle to receiving an education. Why is that so? How can a natural process, like all other natural process happening in our body, be so indifferent? Students do not have access to clean bathroom, to menstrual products and constantly feel uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable when others surrounding us behave indifferently with us. In such a situation only, these students can stand for themselves and fight for their rights. This article explains how students initiated for free menstrual products to be available in school. Students have been on the forefront of efforts to address menstrual stigma and make menstrual products available in their schools. Menstruation is a fact of life for most girls, women, and other individuals who menstruate. The article includes discussions about a study called the “Tampon Experiment” demonstrated that the average individual sees menstruating women as “less competent, [and] less likeable” than women who are not menstruating. Also, for statistical data this article includes viewpoints from 1,000 teenagers who menstruate. It revealed that eighty percent of respondents “feel there is a negative association with periods, that they are gross or unsanitary” and sixty-nine percent “feel embarrassed when they have to bring period products to bathroom. This article also states how principal and teachers in school play a critical role on increasing and decreasing this menstrual stigma.
Munro, Alana K., et al. “A Systematic Review of the Menstrual Experiences of University Students and the Impacts on Their Education: A Global Perspective.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 9, Sept. 2021, pp. 1–28. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257333. Accessed 26 Oct 2021.
This scholarly article contributes further to my research how menstruation affects education of females experiencing it. This article mainly focusses on university students of lower-middle income countries. There are many reasons that contribute to better education and there are many reasons that restrict many people gaining that education. One of the reasons is all those emotional and physical menstrual-related things. Not everybody has access to the proper care menstruating women require. Results obtained in this article are, including Dysmenorrhea (lower abdominal pain), inadequate supply of menstrual hygiene contributes to university absenteeism. Half the students in the survey mentioned the over pricing of menstrual pads which can be considered as one of reasons for them to step back from going to university actively. This article also includes the point that students from USA showed positive attitudes towards menstruation. Whereas people from low-middle-income countries were showing negative attributes. This explains how some rural areas are affecting female education process.
Thakuri, Dipendra S., et al. “A Harmful Religio-Cultural Practice (Chhaupadi) during Menstruation among Adolescent Girls in Nepal: Prevalence and Policies for Eradication.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 9, Sept. 2021, pp. 1–22. Academic Search Complete,
dcccd.idm.oclc.org/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=0614136d2ae54f4e959e3deedd2c2636%40redis&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=152207166&db=a9h Accessed 25 Oct 2021.
This scholarly article explains some practices and beliefs followed in Western Nepal, where women and young girls are banished from their homes into huts during their menstruation period. This article has both quantitative and qualitative surveys to analyze the policies being followed in Nepal. This articles mainly emphasizes on the religious practice named as ‘Chhaupadi’. The survey results in this article suggests that around 84% women’s and girl’s practice Chhaupadi. Most of them between the age of 15-17 are restricted to do household work. This article explains how such practices affect health of women and girls. There were several actions set against this practice explained in this article on how to eradicate this practice, but it involved certain steps to be followed. Conclusion states that there has been an attempt to save and protect the lives of women in our society but such beliefs which are followed since centuries will take time to eradicate.