If you Google the words ‘menstruation’ and ‘Nepal’, one will come across articles upon articles about tragic deaths in menstrual chhau huts from smoke inhalation and snake bites. Much of the media attention is focused on extreme cases in the Far West.
But largely left is how many women and girls across Nepal lack the basic right to dignified menstruation. Exclusionary practices, stigma and taboos around menstruation, underpinned by traditional religious and cultural beliefs, prevent them from fully participating in economic and social life with consequences on schooling, employment and physical and mental health.
New research entitled ‘Dignity Without Danger’ funded by the British Academy Global Challenge Research Fund has brought together researchers from Liverpool John Moores University, the School of Oriental and African Studies in the United Kingdom, and Tribhuvan University to identify and celebrate menstrual activists in Nepal. They have made re-washable and biodegradable pads, developed educational toolkits on periods, and advocated for menstrual rights through art and media.
Communicating to remove menstrual taboo, Sewa Bhattarai