Gujarat HC Proposes To Prohibit Social Exclusion Of Women Based On Their Menstrual Status At All Private And Public Places, Including Religious & Educational
The Gujarat High Court has suggested prohibiting women from being socially excluded because of their menstrual status in all settings, whether private or public, religious or educational. The Gujarat High Court recently introduced a set of guidelines for the State Government to obey in order to end the Menstruation Taboo, stating that all religions (except Sikhism) refer to menstruating women as "ritually unclean." The bench of Justice J. B. Pardiwala and Justice Ilesh J. Vora was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in connection with an unfortunate incident in which over 60 girls in a Shree Sahjanand Girls Institute hostel in Bhuj, Kutch, were allegedly forced to strip to "prove" they were not menstruating.
The Court also stated that the cultural traditions of impurity associated with menstruation are at the root of this misconception, and that it is believed that menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean, and thus the food they prepare or treat can become polluted. In its decision, the Court noted that a significant number of girls in many developing countries drop out of school when they start menstruating (over 23 percent of girls)In this regard, the Court noted that young girls often have little knowledge of menstruation because their mothers and other female relatives are hesitant to discuss the subject with them, and that there is also a need to raise awareness among school teachers about menstruation.
The Court also stated that the absence of adequate menstrual safety alternatives and/or clean, dry, and private sanitation facilities for female teachers and girls infringe on their right to privacy.