Target: Nepalese Prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli
Goal: End practice of sending menstruating women to cow sheds.
In Nepal, the Hindu religion labels menstruating women as “impure.” It is widely believed that during menstruation, women cannot be allowed to touch her family or even live in her house. Instead, women are banished to cattle sheds during their periods, often leading to psychological distress and physical harm.
This degrading ritual endangers women. The cow dung and dirt can lead to infections. Blistering heat in the summers and freezing temperatures in the winter lead to illness. Mothers bring their newborns to the shed while recovering from pregnancy, and the infants often become sick and die. Other ailments such as diarrhea, respiratory infections and pneumonia are common.
By allowing this to legally continue, the Nepalese government is continuing a trend of discrimination against women based on biology alone. As it stands, Nepal has no ban on this practice and has no plans to eradicate it. These deeply held family traditions are difficult to address, but there is an opportunity for the government to step in to educate people of the dangers of this banishment. Women deserve the right to a comfortable, safe home regardless of her cycle.
Please ask Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli to address the banishment of menstruating women and work to eradicate this practice.
Dear Prime Minister Oli,
The act of banishing women to cow sheds during their menstrual periods is discriminatory and cannot continue. This outdated trend endangers women on psychological and physical levels. Nepalese women often report feeling shame about their bodies during menstruation, and are not allowed to interact with their families or go to school. This interrupts the education of girls and teaches everyone that a girl’s body is more important than her right to learn.
Physically, women face a variety of infections and illnesses during their cycles due to extreme weather conditions, including diarrhea, pneumonia and respiratory problems. New mothers often bring their newborns to the sheds as they recover from birth and expose the infants to an unsafe environment, sometimes leading to death.
Women play an important role in society, and by relegating them to subpar living conditions sends the message that they don’t matter. The idea that women’s bodies are “impure” and not worthy of safe living conditions is unthinkable and cannot be allowed to continue. Nepal must prioritize the safety and education of women and girls and put an end to this stigma around menstruation.
Please introduce laws that ban this practice and give a voice to women who are victims of gender-based discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ester Inbar