That Chhaupadi system—whereby girls and women are secluded during menstruation for days and are forced to live in dangerous sheds—is a human cruelty is no brainer. This has resulted in huge social, psychological and physical harm on women. They have suffered isolation, poor hygiene, sexual abuse and even deaths while adhering to this extremely harmful traditional practice.
Hindson Bethan (2009) mentions that menstruation taboos universally prevailed up to the mid-twentieth century in the world although anthropologists and historians did not make these taboos the subject of research until recently. Likewise, M Guterman and others (2007) provide that major religions of the world, without exception, have placed restrictions on menstruating women. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism have made statements about menstruation and its negative effect on women, leading to prohibitions about physical intimacy, cooking, attending places of worship, and sometimes requiring women to live separately from men.
BAJHANG, Jan 20: Women in Bajhang have urged for programs which not only destroy the menstruation sheds but also change the mindset of people regarding menstruation. Unless this is done, the government's move to do away with the culture of Chhaupadi will not be successful, they warn. "The administration has been focusing on destroying Chhau sheds, our families are not comfortable with the idea of keeping us at home when we bleed. Ultimately, it's us who suffer," said Alakuli Jaisi of Prithivi Municipality – 11. While expressing her views during an interaction organized by the District Administration Office on Sunday, she said that women have been forced to spend days under the open sky since Chhau sheds are fast being dismantled.
JUMLA, Jan 9: Chhau sheds (menstruation hut) are being dismantled in western Nepal following strict directive from the government to end the malpractice of banishing women to such sheds during their periods. However, uprooting this tradition does not seem that easy in Jumla. Unlike other districts where Chhaupadi tradition is in practice, chhau sheds are not built outside the houses here. Instead, girls and women in Jumla are forced to share space with cattle at the sheds meant for cows and goats when they bleed.
KATHMANDU, Dec 29: It is going to be interesting to watch how the battle against Chhaupadi will unfold in the days to come because the government has decided to take the tough battle to the end this time. Apart from the arrest of a relative of a woman who died at a Chhaugoth (menstruation shed) two weeks ago, the government has announced that those who continue to practice it will be behind bars and will also be deprived of social security allowances and services.
Globally, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is celebrated every year on 25 November. On this occasion, the United Nations launched sixteen days of activism to advocate for gender equality and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. Statistically, Nepal falls at the bottom on gender equality index and more than one in five women have experienced some form (physical, mental, sexual) of violence in their lifetime.
KATHMANDU, Dec 15: In the aftermath of the first menstrual death arrest in Achham, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has instructed all stakeholders concerned in the Chhaupadi practicing districts to enforce the criminal code that criminalizes Chhaupadi.
As kids, we all wanted to grow up and become “adults”. And then we did. We never really realized it till we were doing things that we had always seen the “adults” in our lives do. But we have all had a particular moment in our lives when we felt like we have grown up and become an “adult” like we always wanted to. The Week asked some people to recall when they first felt like an adult.
NAIROBI (KENYA), Nov 15: In September this year, a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Kenya committed suicide because a teacher allegedly called her “dirty” after she got her period and stained her clothes. It was her first period and she didn't have a sanitary pad with her.
Putali Nepal is a social enterprise that provides training on menstrual health management and sells menstrual cups in Nepal. Additionally, they give trainings on proper use of menstrual cups, especially to women in rural areas of Nepal where menstrual taboos and unhygienic sanitation practices still persist. The organization also distributes ‘Menstrupedia Comics’ which is a guide to educate people on menstruation and reproductive health. This comic is available in both Nepali and English.
Chhau is a tradition associated with the menstrual taboo in the western part of Nepal. This tradition prohibits Hindu women and girls from participating in normal family activities during menstruation as they are considered impure. Women are required to live in a cattle-shed or hut during menstruation.
JUMLA, June 25: Unlike in the past, Siddha Shahi of Hima Rural Municipality sleeps at her own home even during her menstruation these days. In fact, she has been making the people aware about the risks of forcing women to live in Chhaugoths (menstruation sheds) during their periods.
SINDHULI, May 25: Girls studying at the community schools in the rural parts of the country often skip their classes while menstruating. The unavailability of sanitary pads is considered a major reason forcing girls to skip school, every month, hampering their education.
BAJURA, Jan 19: Jaya Lal Rokaya, a shaman of Agaupani, spent half of his life believing in various kinds of superstitions associated with Chhaupadi. He was one of those people who would not even look at a woman during five days of her periods.
ACHHAM, Dec 9: A few years ago, Sunadevi Rawal of Mellekh Rural Municipality-1, Rishidaha, milked her cow and cooked evening meal for her children in her periods. She knew that she has been prohibited to do so but still she took that major step, as she could not let her little children sleep on empty stomachs.
KATHMANDU, Dec 2: Ashwin Karki, dubbed as the “Nepali Padman”, is a 17-year old from Syangja. Growing up in Pokhara, he noticed the plight of young girls and his mentally challenged sister regarding menstruation taboos and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Brought up in a Brahmin family, I have experienced different practices done by girls in the name of religion and culture. Among those practices the most common and unwanted is that of treating a girl during her menstruation. A girl being physically weak in those 4 days of month has to face not only those cramps and pains but has to confront situations of being addressed as ‘impure’.
NEW DELHI, Sept 29: India's Supreme Court has nixed a ban which prohibited women from entering a prominent Hindu temple if they were of menstruating age. The temple's authorities say they will appeal the ruling.
DAILEKH, Sept 11: Nain Bahadur Shahi of Aathbis Municipality has observed it very well. It has been over a decade since NGOs have been running programs and campaigns in the villages of Dailkeh district aimed at dismantling Chhau Goths (menstruation sheds).
I vividly remember my first encounter with menstruation. I was sharing lunch with a girl, who I was friendly with, and we were talking about TV commercials. I looked at her, and told her that I had seen a commercial about a product, which could save girls from becoming blind.
Nails and hair grow, we sweat, we cry and half of us bleed. Then why is it that of all the physiological processes only one has been pushed to an abnormal position a socio-religious stigma? Was this selection absolutely random, or was it more thought out that we give it credit for?
Mitini is a self-sustainable project launched on March 2015 by the non-profit organization MITRA Samaj. This project aims to work in the sector of Menstrual Hygiene Management inside and on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley. They provide services related to safe disposable of sanitary pads in various complexes, corporate organizations, malls, theaters and restaurants across the valley. The revenue generated from these services is used create pad banks and spread awareness about menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls.
BAJURA, April 6: Kirtichaur Secondary School based in Manakot of Gaumul Rural Municipality-5 in Bajura has presently 250 girl students. But those who have already entered monthly cycle miss schools at least five days in a month.
JUMLA, August 23: To abolish the inhuman practice of banishing woman during menstruation, the government recently criminalized Chhaupadi. However, a large number of women including health workers still live in shed during their periods in Jumla.