NICM HRI Webinar 2022: The Big Red Stain - Period Poverty & Menstrual Illiteracy in Indian Subcontinent

Event Name NICM HRI Webinar 2022: The Big Red Stain - Period Poverty & Menstrual Illiteracy in Indian Subcontinent
Start Date 20th Oct 2022 1:00 pm
End Date 20th Oct 2022 2:00 pm
Duration 1 hour

NICM Health Research Institute presents Dr Sania Siddiqui, Founder and Director of Humjoli Foundation.

Join guest webinar speaker Dr Sania Siddiqui as she discusses period poverty and menstrual illiteracy in the Indian Subcontinent.

Dr Sania Siddiqui is a menstrual health activist, educator and Founder and Director of Humjoli Foundation. The non-profit foundation aims to increase awareness of menstrual health and hygiene, period poverty and misconceptions associated with menstruation in low-income group women. She has authored a unique storybook on menstruation for young people, conducted over 500 education and awareness sessions, and trained more than 350 volunteers.


In the Indian subcontinent, menstruation is a taboo topic and people who menstruate are considered dirty and impure, experiencing social isolation, untouchability and humiliation during their period. These beliefs and practices have a strong linkage with culture and religion in the region.

Menstrual illiteracy and period poverty are two major issues faced by a large part of the menstruating population in the Indian subcontinent. Countries in the Indian subcontinent such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are severely impacted by period poverty. This is due to accessibility issues to period products and hygiene and sanitation facilities necessary to manage menstruation.

In the absence of a safe period product, women are bound to use unhygienic material such as dirty rags, paper, dry leaves, husk, and even mud or sand. Usage of these materials lead to reproductive and urinary tract infections. The gravity of this situation worsens from a lack of knowledge and information about the normal biological process of menstruation. Young menstruators are discouraged to talk about periods openly with elders, resulting in this lack of understanding and knowledge, and how to deal with any issues faced during their menstrual cycle.

Although some government schemes are in place to provide period pads at a lower price in government health centres, due to the magnitude of period poverty in these countries, there is still a long way to go to improve menstrual health. NGOs, private companies (under their CSR projects), and passionate individuals are trying their best to reach a large audience with period products and advocacy.

Keywords: menstruation, menstrual literacy, period poverty, Indian subcontinent

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Please note this webinar will not require a webcam or audio for participants. This webinar will have the Q&A function available for questions at the end of the webinar and a recording may also be made available to participants. Closed captioning is available for this webinar, however please note the live transcript is automatically generated and accuracy may be limited due to this.

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Event details

WHEN: Thursday 20 October 2022
TIME: 1.00 - 2.00pm AEDT

VENUE: Zoom webinar 
COST: Free and open to all
RSVP: Registration for this event closes 5pm, AEDT, Wednesday 19 October 2022.