The Words “ Next you will ask for free Condoms”, have taken social media by storm, These are the words of the chief of Bihar’s Child & Women Development Corporation Harjot Kaur Bamhrah, let us see in this article why the above words have angered people.
In this article:-
- What is the context of the snarky reply?
- An apology that feels less like an apology and more like damage control.
- The menstrual sanitation problem in India.
What is the context of the snarky reply?
The snarky reply by the chief of Bihar’s Child & Women Development Corporation Harjot Kaur Bamhrah was made to a schoolgirl from Bihar during a workshop of the Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar which translates to Empowered Daughter, Prosperous Bihar.
A very reasonable request by a girl that the sanitary pads should be provided by the government at a subsidized price somehow triggered the response Next you will ask for free condoms by the chief of Bihar’s Child & Women Development Corporation.
The fact that remark was made by a woman who is the chief of Bihar’s Child & Women Development Corporation during a workshop for a program called Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar makes it all the more deplorable.
When the girl argued that it is the government’s duty to prove some facilities for the daughters of their region if they expect to get votes from them in reply to which the IAS Harjot Kaur Bamhrah asked them to move to Pakistan and please remember that the girl never asked for free sanitary pads only that they should be provided at a subsidized price.
An apology that feels less like an apology and more like damage control.
The chief of Bihar’s Child & Women Development Corporation has apologized but instead of it feeling like a genuine apology it feels more like damage control because instead of admitting the remarks made by her during the workshop were insensitive. And she would approach matters more carefully in the future.
A person in her position should understand it is very demoralizing to the girl who was already showing a lot of courage in talking on a subject considered taboo by the vast majority of the population.
Instead, The IAS Harjot Kaur Bamhrah tried to spin it in a way that she was trying to empower the girl and make her understand she does not need anyone and should be able to solve her problems herself, which might have been understandable if not for her other remarks like the Pakistan one or the Bathroom one.
But it does not mean we should hate The IAS officer because people are capable of changing so, let us hope she will learn from this incident and work for women’s empowerment, she is a smart woman and we need her to use her intellect for the betterment of women.
The menstrual sanitation problem in India.
There are over 40 crore menstruating women in India and only somewhere between 20% to 30% of the 40 crore women use sanitary pads the situation is especially bad in the rural parts of India but even in the Urban parts of India the percentage only goes up to 52%.
Over 70% of adolescent girls do not even know about menstruation until the time they have their first period, which is a blow to their self-esteem and adversely affects their confidence. But why?
The main reasons behind the above are a combination of two things
- The subject of menstruation is considered taboo by the larger portion of the population because of a combination of cultural and religious beliefs and a lack of education or knowledge.
- The reason for the lack of use of sanitary pads can also be attributed to the fact that a significant portion of the population just can not afford them and for some places, they are not even readily available though it is changing with the rise of the internet and e-commerce.
The only way to make sure the subject of menstruation and sanitary pads becomes non-taboo is to have a dialogue about them and teach the people it is not just okay to use sanitary pads during a period but its actually the necessary thing to do, and some steps should also be taken to make them more affordable and readily available.
Things like I don’t need a man sound good when you are in a privileged position but that is not a reality for the majority of the women in India, Let us say both men and women are flawed and troubled creatures and let us both help each other become a little less flawed and troubled.
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