Women are often scared to purchase sanitary products in India due to societal stigma. These vending machines will hopefully help change that.
Menstruation is a natural occurrence for women, but it’s still a taboo topic in India. To offset the embarrassment many women feel when they purchase products for their monthly cycle, Janana hospital in Ajmer unveiled a vending machine that dispenses sanitary pads.
The Times of India reports that the concept is the first of approximately 70 machines that will be set up throughout the district. Some of the vending machines will be set up in jails, bus stops, colleges, and schools.
One of the most important benefits of the innovation is that young girls and women will have access to the sanitary products they need during their monthly cycle. This is critical, as a 2011 report reveals that approximately 70% of females in the country can’t afford pads. In result, dirty clothes, ashes, and even husk sand are often utilized to contain a woman’s flow.
Three sanitary pads will cost about 10 Indian rupees, reports The Huffington Post, which is approximately 15 cents (USD).
— Ashish Mehta (@AshishmTOI) June 8, 2016
It is the hope of activists that as the machines become more widely available, the stigma associated with Aunt Flo’s monthly visit dissolves. At present, women are barred from religious institutions when they are on their period, as well as are restricted from touching certain foods – such as pickled vegetables – as it is believed that their energy adversely affects the pickling process.
The beliefs are outdated, but they are still prevalent. For this reason, the machines couldn’t be unveiled at a better time.
It is also pertinent to note that sanitary pads and tampons can help reduce a woman’s risk of developing reproductive tract infections. They also help improve school attendance among young girls.
Many women are scared to purchase sanitary products at the store because their monthly cycle is a taboo subject, but these machines will hopefully help change that.
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