It is a well known saying that men are from Mars & women are from Venus! Yes, men & women differ a lot; physically, biologically & psychologically. Understanding of these differences in itself can help solve many of the gender based issues that have been prevailing in our society since ages.
The crux of the differences between a man & a woman is that women can attain motherhood by giving birth to a child which the man cannot. Her physical differences are a part of being equipped to sustain motherhood. Biologically she undergoes the cycle of menstruation which is a part of preparation for motherhood. Psychological differences are connected with the physical & biological changes she undergoes en route to her motherhood that comes with feeding & caring for the child which is totally dependent on her.
A woman in her lifetime undergoes this additional burden of motherhood but the society has not been fair to her at all. A society bugged by misogyny, for centuries women have been subjected to inhuman practices, taboos & biases. Pushed into a corner, suppressed under the name of tradition, culture & customary laws, she has silently endured all the pain & agony of being women.
Amidst all this, women have come out of their cocoon & have proved that they can excel in every field which the men have held as their bastion for far too long. I think it is high time that we as men did penance for all the injustice & discrimination meted out to our own women. It is time that we did away with the taboos one by one to allow women to live & breathe freely & openly than being pressed & stigmatized by the religious & socio-cultural dogmas.
Menstrual taboo may not be only limited to India, but in 21st century it still stigmatizes the menstruating women as impure. In an era of science & technology why do on earth we still are carrying on with such taboos when menstruation is an important part of the process of creation, the reason for my and your existence. How can that be impure in the first place? In a culture where the first cycle of menstruation is celebrated, isn’t it an irony that the next cycles turn out to be impure.
The shame & apathy related to menstruation has caused lot of damages. It has resulted in a large percentage of girls dropping out of school lacking safe & sanitary facilities. It has prevented parents & teachers from educating the boys and girls regarding the process of menstruation and managing hygiene. It has created lot of inferiority complexes within the minds of women being kept aloof, not allowed to pray, eat and be present in family gatherings. It has led women to endure that uncomfortable feeling, excruciating pain & cramps and still work in offices, colleges, and industries as if everything is as usual and very normal. These women are not really form Venus. They are our own mothers, sisters, friends & companions.
In an era where there are cloud bursts & avalanches of information, it is not fair to pose ignorance and let our own women down to endure the pain, and shame anymore. It is time we discussed & educated about the menstrual cycle as normally as it exactly is. It is time we thought how we start correcting ourselves.
I think Women’s Day is a great way to celebrate the women in our lives. What can be a better gift on the day for the love & color they bring into our lives than in initiating a debate, a consensus for a menstruation day leave- in our institutions & in our work places- letting our women rest for a day from an uncomfortable day of work enduring the pain associated with it. A menstruation day leave could be a big step towards creation of a pragmatic society which cares & corrects itself from the all the dents inflicted on it from time to time.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful”, a quote out of Malala Yousafzai, the gritty girl who showed the world that a voice can’t even be silenced by the sound of a gun is a message to all women who need to raise a voice and speak for themselves, for the rights that rightly belongs to them.