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March 1, 2019
I Experienced the Same Taboos as the Women in the Documentary ‘Period. End of Sentence’
contributor: Pallavi Bharadwaj
Period. End of Sentence, a short film on menstrual hygiene from India, beat eight other international contenders to win the Oscar for best documentary short. This is no small feat for India, but a much bigger one for the women featured in the story.
Growing up, I experienced the very same taboos and drudgeries as the girls and women on screen.
I grew up only a short drive away from the town of Hapur, the focus of this story. It lies about 70 km (44 miles) from the national capitol of New Delhi. This film hits home for me. Growing up, I experienced the very same taboos and drudgeries as the girls and women on screen. Up until high school, I was given old and used cotton rags by older women in my family to use during “that time of the month.”
Up until high school, I was given old and used cotton rags by older women in my family to use during “that time of the month.”
I was forbidden from performing any religious practices such as touching the idols or visiting temples. I was not allowed to do things that I would normally do, such as wash my hair for at least three days during the event, or even touch the homemade pickles we had, as they were deemed pious, and were at risk of turning bad by my touch. Much of those misconceptions are shown in this film, though those women have it far worse because they are in a rural setting.
Interested in menstrual care in emerging economies? See and compare affordable pads in our Solutions Library.
The Pad Man from India is the gentleman behind this story, but the film is a celebration of the women and girls who broke the age-old taboo and rose above all the misconceptions and hurdles to make this project a success.
Products and initiatives like the Fly sanitary napkin featured in this film, and several others from across the world, featured in Engineering for Change’s Solutions Library (Afripads, EcoFemme pads, Saathi, ZanaAfrica, BeGirlFlexiPads, Makapads to name a few) help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) — good health and well-being for all. They are also good for India and other developing countries, going a long way toward achieving 100 percent usage of sanitary napkins.
See the trailer for Period.End of Sentence below. For more please see thepadproject.org.
About the Author
Ms. Bharadwaj is a program and project manager, consultant, and global development professional living in New York City. She is also a former member of the Engineering for Change team. Read more of her articles at theflipsideofdevelopment.wordpress.com.