Anybody with basic math sense or a calculator can estimate the amount of money spent on pads in a single woman’s lifetime to Rs 42,000.
Hyderabad: An average woman bleeds for 3,500 days in her lifetime. Each day, though a total of four sanitary pads are recommended, most use only two. Each pad costs around Rs 6 on average which makes Rs 12 per day when there is a normal flow.
Anybody with basic math sense or a calculator can estimate the amount of money spent on pads in a single woman’s lifetime to Rs 42,000. The estimates are for when a woman has normal flow every day for all menstrual cycles, which is far from reality.
While it may look reasonable to an average middle-class person who lives in an urban area, it is important to remember that India is not a country where wealth is distributed equally. According to the World Poverty Clock in 2022, roughly 83 million Indians are living in poverty where they cannot afford basic food and shelter.
For all the women who live below the poverty line, the use of sanitary napkins automatically takes a back seat, and they resort to using unhygienic methods to manage their periods, which leads to severe health problems.
Now, given the state of period poverty in our country, when a girl asks a government official why can’t they provide them with free sanitary napkins, if not a valid answer one would expect a show of basic courtesy.
However, that did not happen at the ‘Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar (Empowered Daughters, Prosperous Bihar)’ workshop in Bihar. And Managing Director of the Bihar Women Development Corporation, IAS Harjot Kaur Bhamra failed to address the young girl’s concern.
Instead, she mocked the girl and said, “You’ll say tomorrow that the government can provide jeans and nice shoes. Eventually, when it comes to family planning, you’ll want free condoms as well.”
A simple request for good quality sanitary pads (costing Rs 20-30) was met with a snarky response from Bihar’s IAS officer Harjot Kaur.
“Tomorrow you’ll say the Govt can give jeans too. And why not some beautiful shoes after that… family planning method, nirodh too.” pic.twitter.com/b98VWA3b8H
— Marya Shakil (@maryashakil) September 28, 2022