For the last four years, ethereal beauty Manushi Chhillar has been relentlessly working towards raising awareness on menstrual hygiene in India through her non-profit advocacy platform Project Shakti. This year, on Menstrual Hygiene Day,  UNICEF roped in Manushi to raise awareness on the issue in India.

Manushi made India proud by winning the Miss World crown 17 years after Priyanka Chopra bagged the honor. Manushi has been constantly trying to raise awareness as poor menstrual health continues to be a cause of concern due to the lack of education on the issue. Too many girls are missing out on the future they deserve because of the culture of silence, misinformation, and harmful myths around menstruation. The current COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated menstruation-related challenges for women and girls such as the disruption of access to sanitary products and correct information on periods and more.

When asked about the situation of menstrual hygiene in India, Manushi said-

Poor menstrual hygiene affects the health and wellbeing of women and especially girls, but we don’t very often discuss this. The existing culture of silence, misinformation, and harmful myths around menstruation denies many girls the future and opportunities that they deserve.

COVID-19, lockdowns and safety precautions have disrupted access to sanitary products, adding to the challenges they face. We need to speak up to dispel menstruation-related taboos and stigma, sensitize men and boys to be supportive of girls; and support the availability of essential sanitary products for girls and women in times of crisis.

UNICEF is advocating for the following objectives this year and Manushi will work on these through her social media platforms that have captivated the youth audience base.
1. Girls to receive menstrual hygiene education before they get their first period
2. Sensitizing men and boys to be understanding and supportive
3. Access to safe spaces and products to manage their periods
4. Dispel the taboos and open conversations about periods
5. Increase investment in menstrual health and hygiene
6. All women and girls should be able to manage their menstruation hygienically, safely, in privacy, and with dignity.

Note: We urge you all to stay safe and follow all the necessary safety precautions. Times are tough, but we are in this together, and I’m sure this phase will soon be over. Until then, stay safe and keep your loved ones safe!