Article published in OmVärlden
November 22nd, 2016
By Bhrikuti Rai
Nepal. Sabin Singh tries to break old patriarchal patterns by talking to boys and men about menstruation. Women who menstruate are often seen as unclean, and in more traditional areas they can be forced to sleep in cow manure, he says.
“I was first introduced to ideas that question traditional gender roles in Nepal when I was a teenager. In an after school club in the neighbourhood, games were based on themes related to gender roles and the importance of gender equality. Since then, I’ve participated in several programs and projects that aim to encourage gender equality at home and at the workplace. Currently I’m working with the popular Nepalese radio show ‘Saathi Sanga Manka Kura’ (in English: ‘Chatting to my best friend’) which discusses topics about growing up and becoming an adult. Gender roles is a recurring theme.
-‘Period chats with men’ is the initiative that’s affected me the most. It was started by the youth led organisation Yuwalaya in Kathmandu. In most Nepalese families, women and young girls are kept from doing a variety of things when they are on their period because they’re seen as unclean. My family never acted like that. But I also never thought about that it could have anything to do with me as a man. And I didn’t question the stereotype labelling men as stronger and women as weaker. But after learning about the physical and and emotional impact of menstruation, and about how the stigma surrounding it hinders girls and women, I realised how misleading the established gender stereotypes are.
-Now I’m trying to get other young men and boys to change their views about women. I encourage them to do the simple task of buying sanitary pads for their sisters, mothers and girlfriends as a way of reducing the stigma surrounding menstruation and also show that men view it as something natural”.
Article published in OmVärlden 22/11-16. Full article (in Swedish): http://www.omvarlden.se/Opinion/kronikor1/jag-uppmanar-man-att-kopa-bindor-till-sina-systrar/