An IT company in Thiruvanathapuram's Technopark is running a campaign to spread awareness around menstrual hygiene.
Called #PADAID, the initiative by Navigant India is hoping to change mindsets by sensitising its employees about the issue. Launched on January 25, the campaign will run till February 12.
As part of #PADAID, employees can donate sanitary napkins to underprivileged women and girls. The firm has tied up with Sakhi Women's Resource Centre, a local NGO, which works with women in rural, coastal and tribal areas in Kerala, which will collect the donated pads and distribute them.
The company's two India offices are in Thiruvanthapuram and Nagercoil, with nearly 1,600 and 200 employees respectively. So far, they have received over 400 packets of sanitary napkins and from the looks of it, employees may be starting to shed their inhibitions about periods.
"Some of our male employees have opened up and said that they had never bought pads for their mothers or sisters. And now, for the first time in their lives, they have gone to a store to buy pads and have donated them," says Aparna C, who works in the HR team and is coordinating the initiative.
Employees are also being provided reading material about menstruation through their internal communication platforms, and easy conversation between men and women on the topic is being encouraged.
Following the footsteps of the United Nations, the Women in Navigant forum observes the 25th of every month as â€˜Orange Dayâ€™ to end violence against women.
Efforts to increase awareness around menstruation and ensure easy access to sanitary napkins for women and girls in rural areas have increased over the years. However, experts have been pointing out that the government needs to also focus on treating and safely disposing the nearly 1,13,000 tonnes of menstrual waste that is generated annually, posing a huge risk to the environment.
Another social media campaign, called #CupAndCloth, has been urging women to embrace sustainable menstrual products such as cloth pads and menstrual cups instead of the regular sanitary napkins.