St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi has installed a sanitary pad vending machine in college on 15th May. The machine is sponsored by ONGC and is set up by for free by CSR Research Foundation, though the cost of refilling is to be borne by the college.
”It’s a small step towards a bigger role of greater awareness in the larger discourse of health and hygiene, regarding menstruation-how it is in fact just a natural bodily function. With that there is no shame, embarrassment or isolation” remarked Beth the second year ICC (Internal Complaints Committee) representative. She also added, “In a college like ours, where a large proportion of students live off-campus, ready access to sanitary napkins for women students will be of great benefit.”
“The main taboo about the menstruation in public spaces like universities is that we don’t talk about it openly. Sanitary napkin stations will sort of normalise the idea and therefore break the taboo” said Joan Sony, the final year ICC representative
Most girls used to carry a pad or two in their bag for the emergencies as the cycle is often unpredictable. Also, girls may not feel comfortable finding the nearby stores, to buy the whole packet when the need is of one or two. “We do not have a medical store nearby, I often had to go to my room to get pads for people” said Namita John, a first-year resident student. She also added, “ Now girls don’t have to run to the resident in case of an emergency.”
The inauguration was done in the presence of the Chairman of the Foundation, CA Deen Dayal Agrawal, the principal of the college, Prof. John Varghese and was attended by the faculty and students of the college.
”Menstrual euphemisms and taboos are old. I see periods as a monthly cycle which every woman goes through proving their strength irrespective of their workload and mental stress. It’s not about the pain or stain during periods, the actual worry remains that of perceptions and prejudices”, said Ananya Kapoor, a second-year day scholar.