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19 Apr 2021, 20:24 HRS IST
  • PTI
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  • Boys, let's talk about that time of the month!
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  • Trisha Mukherjee New Delhi, May 28(PTI)
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    he nudge-nudge wink-wink humour in the schoolboys' conversation caught Gurgaon teacher Manisha Gupta's attention. The boys stressed the word "period" when the school bell rang and looked knowingly at each other.

    hat was when Gupta decided that she had to talk openly to her class about menstruation.

    "The boys seemed curiously amused when I brought up the topic of puberty. As I began to discuss the significance of the physical changes that the boys undergo at puberty, I could see their subdued expressions," Gupta said.

    he teacher knew how an 11-year-old schoolgirl with a blood-stained skirt could often become the butt of jokes for the boys in her class.

    "I told them only a menstruating girl will make a healthy wife," she said.

    As the world celebrated the fourth Menstrual Hygiene Day today – with campaigns across the country seeking to strip the stigma attached to it and creating awareness about menstrual hygiene - activists said the movement was incomplete without an equal participation of boys and men.

    "They are an integral part of society around girls and women, be it in school, at home or any other place. They are equally ignorant and curious about this natural process," said gynaecologist-activist Surbhi Singh.

    Often, insensitivity or lack of awareness about menstruation made girls - and even older women - nervous an embarrassed about their monthly cycles, leading to low self esteem and shame.

    Singh and Gupta said the sensitisation of boys had to start early with sex education workshops in schools which could help clear misconceptions about the cyclical bleeding which occurs as the body sheds the lining of uterus.

    Sex education had to start early, they stressed, because most girls hit puberty when they were 11 years old. Yet, the topic of menstruation was first introduced in school curricula only in class 10, they pointed out.

    Such sessions would also help instill confidence among girls, Gupta said.

    "Open discussions, documentaries on real life stories depicting menstruation as an essential part of growing up, and of course encouraging every girl to be proud of her womanhood, can normalise the topic of menstruation in schools," Gupta said.

    At home, Singh said sons should not be left out in discussions on menstruation.

    "They should be involved in buying sanitary pads like any other artic

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