Menstrual Restriction Practice and its impact on Peace, Human Right, Empowerment and SDGs in Nepal CEDAW committee Pre-session shared with IWRAW
Menstrual Restriction Practice and its impact on Peace, Human Right, Empowerment and SDGs in Nepal
Prepared by Radha Paudel Foundation
Prevalence of the Problem:
Almost Nepalese families are following more than 40 types restrictions during period regardless of caste, class, education, region, region where menstrual blood, menstrual girls/women and their belongings are considered untouchability, dirty, impurity, bad luck. The word of Chhaupadi is being called to the practice of visual segregation during menstruation but segregation is continuing everywhere as invisible form. Consequently, girls/women are deprived from the rights as provisioned by Constitution 2015 includes dignity (article 16), freedom (article 17), equality (article 18), discrimination, contamination (article 24), healthy environment (article 30), education (article 31), health (article 35), food (article 36), house (article 37), women (article 38). It is continued from centuries due to ignorance, poor mindset, gender, poverty, unavailability of sanitary products, toilets(only 37% toilets coverage) with water supply and poor research and policy attention. Thus, girls/women have been facing immediate and long-term problems related with reproductive and urinary systems, psychosocial wellbeing, education, employment, child or early marriage, participation, and often encountered with rape, sexual abuse, murder, snake and wild animal bite, death due to extreme hot or cold, suffocation etc. In June-July 2017, 14 years and 19 years young girls died due to snake bite at cowshed during period. Therefore, the menstruation is serious issue of dignity and human right which is beyond hygiene and infrastructure.
Critical Areas of Concern:
1. The word of Chhaupadi is used in very limited and discriminatory manner. Chhaupadi goth (shed) available in 21 districts including central part of the country. The underlying cause and forms of restrictions are same across globe where Nepalese are living therefore needs to redefine it.
2. The awareness is very limited by geographic locations as well as contents because clean sheds or distribution of sanitary pads are not means for assuring dignity of girls/women in many ways. Menstruation is human right concern therefore it needs to address in holistic and dignified manner where health, education, human right, empowerment.
3. The dignified menstruation is pre-condition for SDGs where goal 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 8 are directly linked with menstruation.
4. Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare developed guidelines on Chhaupadi in 2008 as ordered by supreme court but it is not implemented at all. None of the case reported and punished under this guideline. In August 2017, government promulgation of law as $30 bail and three months jail or both but very incomplete. It is not defined the scope of menstrual restriction.
5. The Open Defecation Free (ODF) is remarkable program of the government, but girls/women couldn’t use the toilets during period.
Implementation of Concluding Observation
1. Government simply mentioned the Chhaupadi under Stereotyped and harmful traditional practices (Paragarph 17 and 18) which is very narrow in form or not understand its gravity and magnitude at the life of girls/women and entire society. Till date, there is no any specific programs to demystify conditions around menstruation.
2. Government claimed that the Guidelines on Chhaupadi in to action with distribution of sanitary pads under the health (paragraph 31 and 31). None of the case reported under the guidelines on Chhupadi. And menstruation is not issue of only sanitary pads.
3. The School Sector Plan developed for education for all but not demonstrate the enabling environment for girls. Likewise, the school curriculum also heavily ignored the issue of dignified menstruation from grade 4-10.
4. Under the girl child, point no 283 simply refer the word of Chhaupadi but remained silence of negative consequences due to menstrual restrictions or Chhaupadi e.g. 60 days absenteeism in a year in school.
1. Menstrual restriction is underlying cause of poor health (physical and mental), education, employment, invisible conflict, violence of human right, gender-based violence and disempowerment, government deliberatively EDUCATE about its people on scientific message of menstruation in order to deconstruct myths, rumours, misconceptions around menstrual restrictions or Chhaupadi.
2. By considering the power dynamics and Nepalese socio, economic and political context, significantly ENGAGE with men, boys, faith healers, political leaders and media for tangible results.
3. The ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERMENT could redress the menstrual restrictions by girls/women.
4. It is high time to ENACT the policiesincluding revising religious scriptures/books.
5. Special attention requires to ensure the ESSENTIAL supplies of sanitary products includes access and affordability
6. Urge to ENGAGE all actors who are working around peace, human right, empowerment and SDGs because menstruation is not only women’s issue, it is everyone’s business because it is human right concern. Dignified Menstruation is pre-condition to achieve not only SDG
Paudel Radha, Dignified Menstruation is everyone’s bussiness, Radha Paudel Foundation, 2017,