I just received my Auroville International Newsletter in the postal mail today and there is an article about Eco Femme. “Eco Femme is a women’s empowerment project rising from rural India and reaching the world,” says Llana Cohen, from the USA, she is a volunteer who will soon be an Eco Femme employee in India. When I visited the website I was pleasantly surprised about how the organization is positive, progressive and feminine. There are a few videos that share about the secrecy that women in India live with, but then I thought this is not that much different from women here in the USA. There is a video about “Girl’s Puberty/Ritual” that is very interesting and the narrator says there are differences based on different states and communities in India but in large all girls experience this still today. I wonder if my friends: Priya and Ranjani from Bangalore, Binita from Bombay, Hemani from Delhi, and Alka from Varanasi experienced anything similar ? I suppose the topic is taboo to varying degrees worldwide. For instance, while teaching hatha yoga I mention the contraindications and list several including when menstruating practitioners needs to get advice as how to be safe in their practice. Every instance when a woman makes the inquiry they will seek a private place and time to have discussion. So, in gender mixed classes I always ask the ladies to stay after the gents have left the room and have the discussion. I too, think it is a personal matter and have kept the ritual a secret in my household of men. But, is it not time for us to find a safe way to have a public discussion about these issues. Just doing the math is staggering, 12 months, several days multiplied by women globally, this does not seem to be a sustainable practice when thought in this manner. It may be a private affair for individuals but collectively the waste of disposables are affecting us all female and male and our planet.
However, the economic factor which allows women in places like the USA to purchase commercial sanitary napkins does cause a good deal of global pollution. I never knew that sanitary napkins are mostly plastic and I admit my ignorance and guilt for causing harm to the environment. I hope that readers may also have an AHA moment and consider making changes, supporting programs such as Eco Femme and most importantly share this post with others. Please do leave your comments here, and thank you for taking a few moments and reading this blog. Thanks to AVI-USA (Auroville International), Eco Femme, Llana Cohen and all my friends in Auroville who have opened up my vista in so many ways.
[There is a link (Why?/Eco Femme. ) just above to read more about the Eco Femme Organization]
Update on July 28, 2016
“This past Spring Semester at the college where I teach in New York, part of the United States of America……one of my students, told me she had to leave school immediately, at the beginning of the class, because she didn’t have any sanitary napkins with her and the ladies room didn’t either. So I left my class and walked into the “ladies room” which I use every class session and I for the first time noticed there is no longer any receptacle for sanitary napkins to buy or have free. Then I walked to the equipment center where I send students who come to class with swelling from falling or otherwise but who don’t want to miss class to get ice packs, or band aids, etc. I asked for a sanitary napkin and they told me they don’t keep them. Horrified but not stopping I just started asking every woman I saw did she have an extra sanitary napkin and alas only to find one of my own students had a tampon to spare but the student in need wanted to use a sanitary napkin. Fast forward on my List for items for “Back to School items” I’m buying boxes of Sanitary napkins and tampons and will let all the students know first classes where they can go find them in my closet if ever they need one. I also share with my students on my blog a video by EccoFemme, from Auroville, India about an conscious eco-friendly reusable sanitary pad. Oftentimes the students say this is a great idea for the 3rd world and are shocked by the honest comments from women in the video about missing school and embarrassment. But there is not really much difference here when it comes to open discussion and support for women here in the so-called “first world” Yes most can afford to buy the products even though it causes harm to the planet, but most rest rooms nowadays don’t have products and the ones that do charge money and I think they should be free and available.” I posted this today on my Facebook page along with the video from a new company http://www.shethinx.com