Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: December 31, 2018facebooktwitteremail

Biologists from eminent universities and education centres in Mohali, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Jodhpur and Coimbatore said that that discrimination against women on account of menstruation in any form and any place is a glaring breach of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the core principles of the Indian Constitution.

Menstruation

Biologists from across the country issued a statement on the prejudice against menstruation and said that the discrimination had nothing to do with science. Biologists from eminent universities and education centres in Mohali, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Jodhpur and Coimbatore said that that discrimination against women on account of menstruation in any form and any place is a glaring breach of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the core principles of the Indian Constitution.

“The notion of menstruation as pollution causes perpetual stress in women, and as they are now exposed to science and progressive values, this can cause retrogressive evolutionary change in the human females’ reproductive physiology to the detriment of the entire species,” they said in their statement.

“Only in seven of India’s 36 states and union territories did 90% or more women in the 15-24 age group use hygienic protection during menstruation, according to the latest national health data. Not even 50% of women used clean methods of dealing with menstrual hygiene in eight states and union territories. The mean for these eight states was 43.5%, with Bihar the worst at 31%, according to the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS), released in 2015-16,’ a report said.

Only 55% of young girls in India consider it a natural and normal physical process, according to the study conducted jointly by Water Aid, PATH, Zariya, Development Solutions and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

“Only 48% girls were aware of menstruation before they attained puberty and no more than 23% knew that the uterus is the source of the bleeding, according to research conducted by the menstrual hygiene management study,” the report said.

Menstruation is still a taboo subject in India. Even now, women are considered “impure” during their period, subjected to social, religious and cultural restrictions, according to a study on menstrual health management.

Full text of the statement:

Biologists’ statement on the prejudice against menstruation

We the following biologists affirm that the prejudice against menstruation prevalent in several societies has absolutely no basis in science. The prejudice and the discrimination of women during the period of menstruation represent a gross denial of science. Menstrual blood is one of the several excretions from the human body that is central to the perpetuation of the human species. The notion of menstruation as pollution causes perpetual stress in women, and as they are now exposed to science and progressive values, this can cause retrogressive evolutionary change in the human females’ reproductive physiology to the detriment of the entire species.

This prejudice and discrimination against women on account of menstruation in any form and any place is a glaring breach of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and also the founding principles of the Indian Constitution. Because prejudice and discrimination are rather widespread, we underline the need to create legislation criminalising the prejudice and discrimination based on such unscientific beliefs. And because this malice is also prevalent in several societies in different parts of the world, the UN General Assembly should adopt a resolution against such prejudice and discrimination.

Signed by: 
Dr Manjari Jain, Asst Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, Punjab.
Dr PA Azeez, Former Director, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON)
Prof Shakuntala Sreedhara, Member of the Board of Management, University of Agricultural Science, Bangalore and Emeritus Scientist ICAR
Prof Neelkamal Rastogi, Dept of Zoology, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
Dr S Faizi, President, Ethological Society of India, Trivandrum.
Dr K Sreedevi, Senior Scientist, ICAR-NBAIR, Bangalore.
Dr VV Binoy, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
Dr Renu Kohli, Asst Professor, Associate Professor of Zoology, Pali Govt College, University of Jodhpur

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