In the past two years, a lot has been spoken about women’s hygiene and how it should no longer be treated as a taboo. Menstruation especially.  Now the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has announced a revolutionary initiative to a uphold a woman’s dignity and rights.

“Menstruation is the right of all women. The government is implementing the 'She Pads' scheme to distribute healthy and clean sanitary pads to all school students across the state. Proper care will also be taken to see that their manufacture, dispatch and supply does not prove to be harmful in any form. Eco-friendly distilleries and dispatch units for the used pads will also be provided. The project is expected to cost Rs 30 crore and will be implemented in the next three years. The project is being implemented with the support of Local Self Government Institutions under the leadership of State Women Development Corporation – wrote Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Here is the CM’s post announcing the same:

Menstruation had always been spoken off in hushed whispers, sanitary napkins looked with curiosity and disgust and packed off in black polythene packets or newspapers. In April using the hashtag #LahuKaLagaan -- 'tax imposed on blood', the petition wanted Finance Minister Arun Jaitely to exempt menstrual hygiene products like sanitary napkins from the exorbitant taxes.

The campaign was headed by an organisation called SheSays.

Well, we are not sure about Jaitley but Pinarayi Vijayan has actually made some headway in the matter. Did you know? During menstruation, it becomes so uncomfortable for women and girls that often they end up missing school or work due to the pain and blood loss. With a large female population imagine the taxes they pay for amenities that are essential to their health.

In recent news, even the Students Federation of India (SFI) has demanded an immediate withdrawal of the added taxation on sanitary napkins and asked the government to ensure the maximum reach of the menstrual protection tools in lowest prices.

Kerala has been active in addressing these needs of women. In fact, in April itself, the Trivandrum City Corporation's had announced that they would be installing 92 sanitary pad vending machines, together with incinerators, at 62 public places. And if all goes well, Kochi would also implement the same.

Seems like CM has learnt from the past and has made headway in tackling both the issue and the disposal of sanitary waste. While we wait for the implementation and outcome, the government can be lauded for their efforts and other states should also learn from them.