Page 12 - MHM Report-2023
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exacerbated when women aspire to use sanitary
            pads but are faced with issues of affordability.

            iii)  Health risks for women and girls
            The combined lack of awareness about
            menstruation and access and use of hygienic
            MHM methods has manifested in a host of
            physical and psychological health and socio-
            economic concerns for women and girls. The lack
            of access to hygienic MHM products makes them
            susceptible to adverse health conditions, psycho-
            social stress, and gender-based violence and
            animal attacks, and contributes to absenteeism
            from school and the workplace.
                Research has shown that when girls
            cannot handle their menses in school, they
            miss school days or may discontinue their
            education altogether. Unhygienic management
            of menses makes girls and women susceptible to
            reproductive tract infections, repeated bouts of
            which can increase their risks of cervical cancer
            (see Box 6).
                In the baseline study in Rajasthan, most
            adolescents reported psycho-social trauma
            because of the physical symptoms of the onset
            of menarche and lack of information to ease the
            trauma. All four states in the baseline studies
            reported shame and trauma about the onset of
            menarche, and about menstruation in general.
            In Gujarat, 67% girls and women reported
            that menstruation should be kept a secret and
            experienced shame talking about it.
                This lack of information has provided         relationships. The culture of silence that
            a perfect breeding ground for myths and           envelops menstruation reinforces inequitable
            misconceptions to take root. Myths also further   gender norms and limits girls’ and women’s
            entrench inequitable gender norms and power       mobility and agency.

               Hygiene check

        6      Studies* associate lack of access to WaSH facilities and unhygienic WaSH practices with higher RTI
               incidence in rural Indian girls and women across reproductive life stages.

               *Source: Baker, Padhi, Torondel et al, 2017

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