Commencing four day long International Women’s Day Celebrations in accordance with the United Nation’s theme “Time is now: Rural and Urban activists Transforming Women’s Lives” for the year 2018, Amity University launched Second Edition of #YesIBleed Campaign by Mr. Ashwini Choubey - Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare (MOS); Ms. Rekha Sharma - Chairperson - National Commission for Women; Ms. Divya Khosla Kumar - Director, Producer & Actress and Ms. Pooja Chauhan- Vice Chairperson, Amity Humanity Foundation at Amity University Campus, Noida
#YesIBleed Campaign is a movement put together by SheWings and supported by Amity University which aims to create a holistic approach to the issue of menstruation, which is an experience that transcends culture, class, and caste.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Ravi Shankar, Co-Founder of SheWings, said the SheWings Campaign was conceptualized to promote menstrual hygiene awareness through the youth of the country. "We hope to involve the nation's youth in such a manner that this critical issue of women's reproductive health becomes a pan-India movement which is sustainable”, he stressed.
Congratulating Amity for associating with SheWings, Hon’ble Mr. Ashwini Choubey - Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare (MOS) stated that menstruation is a natural process and an awareness needs to be created around the same pan India. Sharing his experience of working with the rural population of Bihar, he remarked that much to his dismay, he found out that only 2% of women there were using sanitary pads and most of them were using cloth and leaves during menstruation. He lamented the fact that despite Central Government allocating substantial funds to States for promoting menstrual health and hygiene in 2017-18, most of the funds remained unutilized in various States. He remarked that menstrual hygiene is a human rights issue since every girl has a right to dignified life and stressed that only “Swachh Bharat will lead to Swasth Bharat”.
Narrating her own childhood experiences, Ms. Rekha Sharma - Chairperson - National Commission for Women stated that Men and Women –both should be sensitized about menstrual hygiene” and it is very important for mothers and fathers to talk to their daughters openly about puberty and menstrual hygiene so that they are prepared beforehand to deal with the onset of menstruation. She stressed that menstruation is a normal physical and biological change in body and there should be no social stigma attached to it. She called upon the students to go out in villages and talk to the adolescent girls, making them aware about the natural process of menstruation and even suggested them to pool in money and provide them sanitary napkins since sometimes lack of resources to buy sanitary pads comes in the way of maintaining good menstrual hygiene. She opined that there should be machines installed in every Institution to properly dispose of sanitary napkins which otherwise, are a grave threat to environment and human health.
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Pooja Chauhan- Vice Chairperson, Amity Humanity Foundation stated that Amity University is a very progressive University, which has been striving to bring about a positive change in the society through its students, who are spearheading the change movement. She shared that Amity Humanity Foundation, which is a philanthropic arm of Amity, will extend all the possible support to SheWings in its noble endeavor. She called upon the boys and girls to work together in spreading the awareness of menstrual hygiene and be sensitive towards each other. She stressed that a happy woman makes a happy family and happy children.
Sharing her views, Ms. Divya Khosla Kumar - Director, Producer & Actress expressed that 23% of adolescent Indian girls in the age group of 12-18 drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate menstrual protection. Sharing an important tip for maintaining good menstrual health, she shared that a sanitary napkin should be changed every 4 hours since they are made of 90% of plastic and can enter our body once dissolved with blood. She also highlighted the need for proper disposal of sanitary pads since their improper disposal chokes sewage systems and most of the times, she remarked that even rag pickers are reluctant to pick them up from the roads where they lie splattered. She commended the work done by SheWings and proposed that more such discussions should be held in future to provide momentum to the cause.
Mr. Madan Mohit Bhardwaj, Co-Founder, SheWings proposed the vote of thanks and shared that the initiative taken by SheWings has garnered humungous support from people of all walks of life within few months of its launch.
Also present during the occasion were Prof.( Dr.) Nirupama Prakash, Chairperson, Amity Women Help Desk, Prof.(Dr.) Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, AUUP
During the event, students of Amity University presented a Skit titled– “ Apavitra Kyon” through which they tried to dispel the myths and superstitions associated with menstrual cycle.
The inauguration was followed by Panel Discussion wherein Ms. Priyanka Suresh Raina - Wife of Cricketer Suresh Raina; Ms. Rekha Sharma - Chairperson - National Commission for Women and Dr. Arika Bansal, Consultant Dermatalogist shared their views on the importance of menstrual hygiene and the need to fight the taboo associated with menstruation.
She Wings is a social enterprise set up to create environmental and social change through revitalizing menstrual practices that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsive and empowering for women around the world.