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Period poverty: Bihar IAS officer’s vile remarks mock reality of a million girls?

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Period poverty: In the 21st century, millions of women around the world struggle to manage menstrual hygiene. Period poverty is a major concern, especially in the developing countries of the world.

Without any further ado, let us take a quick look at the bigger challenges that currently ail the world countries.

The major bottleneck is taboo around menstruation, a natural process. Secondly, lack of awareness, lack of menstrual products like sanitary pads and tampons, poor sanitation and poverty make it even worse.

UN Population Fund describes Period poverty as the struggle many low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products. It also refers to the increased economic vulnerability women and girls face due to the financial burden posed by menstrual supplies.

UNICEF: Reasons for Period Poverty (The Vocal News)

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also introduced a scheme for the same.

It works for the promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years in rural areas.

The major objectives of this scheme are:

-To increase awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene.
-It aims to increase access to and use of high-quality sanitary napkins for adolescent girls in rural areas.
-To ensure safe disposal of Sanitary Napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.

IAS Officer Harjot Kaur Bamrah’s remarks on period poverty

In a shocking incident, a Bihar 1992 batch IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bamhrah responded disdainfully to a school girl’s request for sanitary pads at reduced prices of Rs 20-30.

What’s even more appalling is the fact that this lady IAS officer is also the chairman and managing director of the state’s Women and Child Development Corporation. This ghastly response from a public servant has been getting flak now.

Harjot Kaur Bamrah‘s video uttering the vile remarks on period poverty, one of the most pressing issues, is going viral on social media.

The lady IAS officer can be heard responding to the girl’s query, “Tomorrow you will ask if the government can give jeans too. And some beautiful shoes? Eventually, when it comes to family planning, you will expect the government to give you condoms, too. Why do you need to take everything for free?”

Access to sanitary napkins a basic right (MOHFW)

Ironically, this response from the Bihar IAS officer came during a workshop Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar held in Patna this week.

IAS officer Bamhrah now claims that her remarks didn’t mean to demean the girls. To defend her response, she alleged defamation.

Writing to the Press Council of India, she demanded action against a local Hindi newspaper, calling it a false and malicious report against her.

Menstrual Hygiene- a basic right

The viral video shows the IAS officer calling the girl’s request “stupid”. Not only this, she even snapped at her to “become Pakistan (sic).” The vile comments by a public servant have drawn sharp reactions from all corners.

The COVID-19 virus posed unique challenges to the world systems. From healthcare to social sectors, the whole world came to a halt with the deadly virus hitting women even more, especially in the rural areas.

Earlier, it was reported that vaccines affected the period cycles in women. After nearly two years, a global study has confirmed that COVID-19 vaccination can lead to temporary changes in menstrual cycle length for some people.

However, this comes with an important caveat that temporary changes to the menstrual cycle should not be a concern for women.

ALSO READ | Khosta-2 New Coronavirus Variant Could Dampen Hopes Of A Covid-Free World?

Hina Fatima Khan
Hina Fatima Khan
Multi-media Journalist based in India with an experience of 7 years in the industry, Hina Fatima Khan works as a Senior Sub-Editor at The Vocal News. Her areas of interest are Politics, Business, History and World Affairs. She is also a Space enthusiast and enjoys scrabble in the Newspapers. She has done Masters in Convergent Journalism from Mass communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia University.

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