Oscar-winning documentary spotlights stigma of women’s periods in India

February 2019

Source: France24

Fewer than 12 percent of women have access to sanitary protection in India, where the topic is so forbidden that one of the documentary’s protagonists calls it the “worst taboo in our country”. Girls don’t discuss it with their mothers, husbands and wives don’t broach it, and even girlfriends don’t speak of it among themselves.

The short film “Period. End of Sentence”, which won the Oscar for Best Short Documentary illustrates the consequences of a taboo that goes well beyond the issue of women’s health in a country where girls are often reduced to using leaves or wood shavings as makeshift protection. The matter of access to education for teenage girls is also at stake. As one woman explains, she dropped out of school within months of her first period, having struggled with the lack of adequate protection or even a place to change on the school premises (not all of which have toilets). Her story is far from exceptional: More than a quarter of young Indian women are obliged to abandon their studies for the same reason. Read full story

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