In Nepal, menstruation is associated with stigmatising traditions and restrictions for women. I’m calling for an end to the – sometimes deadly – suffering.
The most extreme form of seclusion is practised in the western part of the country. Chhaupadi banishes menstruating women to live in sheds outside the houses. Recently, two young women died in menstrual huts in Achham, a hilly district in far-west Nepal, in less than a month.
Speaking up against menstrual taboos is not easy. There are many initiatives across the country but the tradition is deeply rooted.
The government needs to take a new approach to this issue. Legal initiative and awareness campaigns must go hand-in-hand. I have long been advocating that it is not cultural issue. It is a human rights issue. It is not a part of religion but part of superstition. It is against women’s rights. It is also a legal issue.
But it’s not a matter for Nepal only, smashing menstrual taboos should be part of international initiatives.