When a young student in Bihar asked for free sanitary pads, a female IAS officer responded in an appalling manner. The dialogue occurred at a convention held by Women Empowerment Cooperation in Patna. The teenager sought to understand why the administration in spite of many promises can’t provide free sanitation. The young girl’s inquiry was appreciated with the hoards of claps from the attendees. However the administrative officer found it repulsive. “Is there any end to such demands?” Kaur replied. 

This disgraceful incident highlights the bigotry prevalent in Indian society. Cultural norms and religious taboos on menstruation are often compounded with traditional association through concepts like “evil spirits” and embarrassment around female sexuality. Not a few years ago, a video went viral featuring a chemist harassing a young girl when she asked for a transparent bag for her sanitary napkin. 

These are one of the many instances faced by Indian women in the society today. Such mentality can only be uprooted through awareness, a responsibility, passively allotted to every citizen alongside individual rights. They provide existential questions to our perception of ‘Modern India.’ 

Less than 20% of menstruating women and girls in India use sanitary pads. This only increases to roughly 50% in urban areas.  Although the urban population discards the presence of the societal taboos and practices in India by claiming ‘at least not in cities’, every now and then cases such as the one mentioned above, still sprout up and demand vital attention. 

In his book The Wings of Fire and later in India 2020, late president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam persistently persuaded the young youth to take over individualist responsibilities, which has been set aside for too long. Society comes into existence through a consensual agreement with the individual. Thus, instead of spreading remote ideologies or not standing up, Indian youth must work towards awareness. 

SDGs established by the UN General Assembly in 2015 strive for gender inclusive development. Products which adhere to SDGs withstand the scheme and try to examine all the detailed goals. 

At Enactus JMI, we orient toward sustainable development projects. With our latest initiative, we have been confronting gender disparity and alienation that is still prevalent in India through Project Shrimati.  Menstrual hygiene is a necessity which can’t be ignored. The surged prices of menstrual products makes it difficult for the impoverished section to avail it and therefore the biological necessity is transgressed. With Project Shrimati we provide cost effective and sustainably produced hygiene napkins as well as education to our immediate society about female menstrual hygiene. Thus our corporate strategy is also fixed with socially beneficial aims particularly for the women of our country. 

-Riddhi Mehrotra


Riddhi Mehrotra

Riddhi Mehrotra is currently pursuing B.A. English hons. From Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. Writing and reading have always been her best companion. She like to see life through a poetic lens and is always on up for explore new opportunities.