Topic: GS3 – Woman health.
- The Supreme Court of India intervenes, setting a four-week deadline for the government to finalize a comprehensive menstrual hygiene policy.
- Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directs the formulation of a national model for girls’ toilet facilities in government-aided and residential schools.
- Despite over three-quarters of a century post-Independence, India is now closest to establishing a menstrual hygiene policy.
- The delay prompts the judiciary to intervene, highlighting the need for a structured approach.
Access and Affordability:
- Menstrual hygiene products are more accessible due to advancements and urbanization.
- Affordability remains a challenge, particularly hindering women in semi-urban and rural areas.
- According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS), 73% of rural women and 90% of urban women use hygienic methods.
- Improvement seen in the percentage of women aged 15-24 using hygienic methods, rising from 58% in NFHS-4 to 78% in NFHS-5.
- Link established between education and hygiene preference; women with 12 or more years of schooling are more likely to use hygienic methods.
- Menstruation-related stigma leads to school dropouts.
- Limited access to sanitation facilities exacerbates the problem.
- The Centre informs the Court of a circulated draft policy, set to be finalized in four weeks.
- Emphasis on the importance of not just a policy but also ensuring access to affordable products, clean toilets, and water.
- The policy should address the entire lifecycle of menstruation, considering health and social consequences.
- A plea for the government to commit to serving the holistic needs of India’s women.
The Supreme Court’s intervention is a welcome step, and it is now up to the government to deliver on its promises. A comprehensive menstrual hygiene policy is essential to ensure the health and well-being of millions of women in India.
Question: Discuss the recent judicial intervention regarding menstrual hygiene policies in India. Evaluate the significance of these directives in addressing challenges related to menstrual hygiene, and access to sanitation in the country.