How many of you remember ‘that’ conversation with your parent(s) when you hit puberty?The curious kids might have thrown a couple of innocent queries at their mothers, but most would have been told to be quiet and not ask such ‘inappropriate’ questions. Others might have never had ‘the talk’ with their parents about the ’birds and the bees’ and were left to figure those things out themselves. That’s because 99% of us have grown up in traditional households where talking about menstruation or sexual hygiene or old age-related infirmities was frowned upon. So kids never really got educated on such critical life learnings, because talking about these things was considered indecent or shameful. Consequently, usage numbers also reflect the dismal consumption pattern. Even though India has about 355 million menstruating women, reports suggest that nearly 71% of girls have no knowledge of menstruation before their first period. As a result, nearly 60 percent of women in India are diagnosed with vaginal and urinary tract diseases and infections every year due to poor menstrual hygiene.
- With exposure to global living practices, we have become a much more progressive nation now, and there’s more awareness amongst the youth and children about maintaining good hygiene.
- Government initiatives on female health have increased awareness amongst the masses.
- The rural population now understands the benefits of personal hygiene and consumes more hygiene products than before.
- India’s menstruation heroes (e.g. ‘Padman’ Arunachalam M, Anshu Gupta of Goonj, DP Singh and Ameet Mehta of Azadi) have added impetus to leading conversations around menstruation and female hygiene.
- New-age FMCG challenger brands in personal hygiene are helping to make sanitary pads and adult diapers and other ‘embarrassing’ products more mainstream.