In the space of seven years, Bhumi Pednekar has achieved a feat that many Bollywood actresses want to do. He has not only shattered stereotypes on screen but also called for bigotry in art and society through films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Toilet: Ek Prem Kotha, Last Story and Sand Ki Aankhe. She has been a champion of women’s rights and girls’ education and uses her social media platform to spread awareness about body positivity, menstruation and climate change. In addition, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, aims to implement a year-long social campaign for which it has involved Bollywood actresses.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, India TV approached Bhumi Pednekar to talk about reshaping the entertainment industry, her film choices that help change the notion of “ideal woman” and consciousness in terms of brand approval:
[6:21 PM, 3/7/2022] Vaishali India TV: The word ‘impurity’ has been associated with menstruation for ages. In rural areas, a woman is still considered untouchable when she is in her ‘period’. While multiple monthly health awareness programs and government schemes can be credited for normalizing menstruation, menstrual hygiene is still a taboo. Over the years, discussions about normalizing menstrual hygiene have opened the door for many women at different stages of life but male adversaries are still reluctant to talk even though it refers to their own relatives.
Where a girl feels it is right to talk in front of her partner / boyfriend about her menstrual cycle and difficulties during this time, she rarely opens her mouth to her parents or siblings. Accepting the thought of judgment or rather shame. When not at home, in professional places, women are forced to believe that it is not normal to take care of themselves during menstruation because that is what happens. It is God’s will for women to suffer. Many of the women I know have left the office or taken a day off because of a terrible menstrual cramp and have faked it as a headache or said, “I’m not feeling well” just for not being judged.
However, things have taken a turn in the last few years when companies have come forward to acknowledge that it is okay for a woman to take a vacation due to menstrual cramps. In 2020, food-delivery service Zomato has announced a ‘period leave’ of up to 10 days for female and transgender workers. It started the debate at a time when people were divided if it was the way forward.
This was followed by many more companies. Kritika Jain, COO of Pata Navigation Pvt. Ltd. In a changed world where all women are rushing to balance their personal and professional lives, we are making some efforts to make this journey easier. As part of this initiative, we will start giving all our women period leave. We will give all women a leave of absence whenever they need to. Also, safety is a primary concern for all families allowing their daughters to work. For those who want to start their careers after the break, we encourage them to start their careers again. “
In the last few years, menstruation has not only become a topic of discussion but also the menstrual hygiene industry has changed manifold. There was a time when advertisements for sanitary pads were aired on TV, and now, new products like menstrual cups and tampons are gaining popularity in India. Speaking on the same topic, Anika Parashar, Founder and CEO of The Woman’s Company, commented: Often overlooked – despite being a very important aspect that should be handled actively and responsibly by all women – shifting priorities from material resources to overall health, it goes without saying that we need to be more conscious about our feeding – the body and us How do I treat myself? “
Meanwhile, mainstream movies have also played an important role in breaking down the barriers surrounding menstrual hygiene and starting a conversation. For example, if it were not for Akshay Kumar’s film ‘Padman’, people would not have focused their attention on the poor state of menstrual hygiene in rural areas. The picture was imitative in its own way. Another picture, ‘Period. Fighting the stigma surrounding menstruation and starting making sanitary pads attracted the attention of international bigwigs at the end of the sentence about Indian women. The film even won an Oscar.
Away from film, nowadays actors have also taken on the responsibility of talking about this ‘forbidden’ subject and changing attitudes. Akshay Kumar’s advertisement about buying pads for women before every movie in theaters is enough proof.
Elaborating on the same, actress Bhumi Pednekar who is the brand ambassador of Whisper and a representative of their latest campaign #KeepGirlsInSchool said, “In our society, I must point out that we have come up with many You know, we’re moving forward with confidence to make this world a better place. However, as a woman, one of the restrictions we constantly face and endure is the conversation about periods and menstrual hygiene. There is myth and underlying shame – much of which stems from a lack of sensitivity and education about menstrual hygiene management. “
He adds, “I strongly believe that change comes from within, which will only be pushed when people have the right knowledge and awareness of a particular issue, which can happen through the efforts of brands like Whisper through their #KeepGirlsInSchool movement – that’s exactly it.” That’s why I’ve been associated with this movement for so long, because this movement has shown its commitment and commitment to educating girls and ensuring that we no longer lose girls to reach their dreams and realize their future. “
This year on International Women’s Day, let us pledge ourselves that we will do our best to bridge the gap between education in society and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) so that it can have a better future without any monthly restrictions.