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With an aim to raise awareness about menstrual health, period poverty and break the silence around menstrual shame, The Times of India unveiled the #CutTheShame initiative on May 28, World Menstrual Hygiene Day. Besides advocating equality and justice for women, #CutTheShame initiative will also aim to raise awareness among men about menstrual health.

#CutTheShame will offer a series of expert-backed data, information and advice, centred on the lived experiences of girls and women in India. The campaign hopes to take readers on a journey of empathy, kindness and care, and one that inspires each of us to reject taboos and misinformation and speak up. The Times of India is working to bring voices of experts and activists who have worked relentlessly, empowering and emancipating women from the shackles of period shame.

TOI has launched a microsite for the initiative:

According to estimates from women’s health organisations, a shocking 84% of Indian women have restricted or no access to sanitary napkins, with the Covid-19 lockdown forcing hundreds of thousands of young girls and women to resort to the age-old unhygienic practice of using a cloth during their periods.

Given that lack of access to hygiene is the fifth biggest killer of women in the world, as per a WaterAid report, and hundreds of millions of menstruating women are still made to feel unclean and ‘impure’ by their own families during these stressful times, it’s time we put this issue on the table.

Durga Raghunath, Digital Head, Times of India, said, “Menstrual health and hygiene should be discussed openly like any other topic concerning our health. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Conversations on periods are still shrouded in secrecy and conducted in hushed tones as it remains a source of shame and discomfort for young girls, and older women because of taboos associated within family structures. As a large media organisation with over 40% women’s readership, and the power to drive awareness, we believe the shame surrounding periods needs to be weeded out of our culture and period poverty must be brought to an end so that women can take charge of their bodies and live with greater dignity and empowerment.”