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There was this picture of a woman breathing with the aid of an oxygen cylinder and cooking in the kitchen and this picture went viral on social media with varied captions like, “A mother’ s love has no bounds” or “A mother’s duties never ends” or even “What a woman should be” and many more. Well, this picture proves that the reach of health being a luxury for women is an understatement.
These prejudices are so rooted in our society that even the basic needs and wants of a woman are her last priority. With these basics being too expensive several women especially in the rural areas prefer not to opt for these luxuries as they claim it.
One such luxury they prefer not to use is a sanitary pad. Many rural women to date prefer a white cloth over this cotton absorbent because of its high rates. Despite several young entrepreneurs and NGOs trying to sell these at a reduced rate, it still hasn’t given any fruitful results.
As the age-old customs continue, one such leading custom is making a menstruating woman or a girl is isolated and in a few beliefs, made to sit outside a small hut. This practice of banishing these young women in a small hut is called Chhaupadi is followed predominantly in Nepal. This custom has several health and safety risks like higher risks of Axyphiation, diarrhea, animal./snake bites -all these may even result in death. Despite being in this modern world, it is shocking to see such discriminations continue.
Apart from these customs, there are certain routine prejudices against women starting from their homes. Every small detail counts. We as a society have embellished these small things and prejudices that have led to years of trauma and pain for women. The hard part is this trauma is never even realized by several women.
We detain women in the name of a mother and her auspicious love. We make her cook, empty her meal and make our leftovers her go-to meal, strangle her by controlling her, make her sacrifice her desires for the sake of our selfishness and what not. All such years of mandated practices had made women forget the problem and fall into the traps of systematic misogyny and accepting that it is okay not to have any health preferences and it is okay to neglect any health problems. Such health negligences lead to bigger and untreatable health diseases and sometimes even death.
Although there aren’t much awareness and forwards in the society, the government is also doing its part of trying to inculcate education and awareness that encourages these women to shift to pads and teach the health and safety risks associated with not caring about their physical health.
Maybe with these promising laws, the years to come looks hopeful for women and soon Women will understand Health is not something to let go of but is something that is up for grabs. They need to understand it is not an option that their family needs to bestow upon them but is a must for the benefit of their selves and their health. The path to health is not a luxury for women is still a long haul, but not an impossible one!