Events - Making Workplaces Safe - Menstrual Hygiene Day Celebrations with Domestic Workers, Gurgaon

Menstrual Hygiene Day Celebrations with Domestic Workers, Gurgaon

Date: 02/06/2017  To 02/06/2017

Venue: Harijan Basti, Gurgaon

On Friday, 2nd June 2017, there was a training session with the women working as paid domestic workers from the age of 18 to 35 in Harijan Basti in Gurgaon. There were 25 women present. The aim of the session was to create awareness and train them about basic hygiene and clarify their doubts about menstruation. The session was organized to celebrate the ‘World Menstrual Hygiene Day’, which happens on 28th May every year since its inception in 2014.

The first part of the session began with a myth and fact game, where each woman had to pick out a chit from a jar. The chits had certain facts and misconceptions about menstruation written on them and each woman had to place the chit in either the fact column or the myth column.

The following were the chits and the reaction of domestic workers.

  1. The girls shouldn’t be allowed to go to school during menstruation.

    All the women said this is wrong and should be placed in the myth column. One of them put forward a very interesting remark and said it’s necessary to go to school because what if there is an exam or anything important happening in school.

  2. The girls should not tell anybody about menstruation.

    At first they all said it’s a myth but added that the girls should only talk about menstruation when it happens for the first time but later they shouldn’t talk about it or tell people.

  3. During menstruation, girls should stay away from the others.

    They all said it’s a myth.

  4. Everybody experiences different things while menstruating.

    They all said its true, women have different flows, and the way their bodies react to it is also different, some women experience severe body ache whereas some don’t.

  5. If a girl touches food when she’s menstruating, the food will get spoilt.

    Two of the women said it’s a myth, rest everybody said it’s true but not for everything and that menstruating women should not touch certain foods like curd and achaar as these foods will get spoilt once they touch them.

  6. During menstruation, women should not enter places of worship.

    Three of the women said it’s a myth, rest everybody said its true.

  7. Menstruation is a disease, which leads to cancer.

    Everybody said this is a myth.

  8. During menstruation, women are dirty.

    Everybody said this is true and the blood is dirty and this is the reason why women should be kept away during this time and not enter the religious places.

  9. After menstruation, women should bathe with Gangajal.

    Everybody said it’s a myth.

  10. The second girls start menstruating, they are ready for marriage.

    Everybody said this is a myth. One of the workers said that parents do start thinking about marriage.

  11. Menstruation is a phase of life; it starts at one age and ends at one.

    Everybody said it’s true.

  12. The used pad should be buried in the ground.

    Everybody said it’s true.

  13. Girls have different body parts from where the blood flows.

    Everybody said it’s true.

  14. Every girl/woman experiences this.

    Everybody said it’s true.

  15. Everybody experiences body ache while menstruating

    Everybody said it’s true.

  16. When a girl starts menstruating, she experiences changes in the body.

    Everybody said it’s true.

Once this activity was over, a video about menstruation was shown to them, which explained why women menstruate, what happens to a girl’s body when she starts menstruating, explaining them how menstruation is a natural process and is not something to hide or be ashamed of. This video also clarified certain misconceptions that many of the women had.

The domestic workers were very happy to see the video, during the video one of them even asked to rewind the part where they explain why it happens. A lot of their doubts were also clarified after watching the video. And the chits that were placed during the activity under the myth and fact column were also revised once the video was over.

After the video, there was a short discussion on the disposal of sanitary pads/cloth. On being asked what they usually use, they all said these days everybody uses sanitary pads. Out of the 25 domestic workers present, only 2 were using cloth. They even asked about how to properly dispose of the cloth after using. Once they were told how to dispose it off, they told us that sometimes they used to bury it in the ground or throw it in the drains or in water bodies and in the end they said, “We will no longer do this now. We will dispose the pads/cloth properly.”