Menstruation is not a taboo, but a power for women

October 22, 2015

One 15-year-old is determined to change cultural and religious taboos that discriminate against women and girls during menstruation.

Ancient Hindu scriptures state that women are highly infectious during their periods. These thousand-year-old taboos were, at one point, a common belief in nearly all cultures and religions. Today, in places like Nepal, the tradition known as chaupadi places restrictions on menstruating girls, including being unable to come in contact with their families, eat while others are eating, and entering the kitchen. In some communities, girls are even forced to sleep in a shed outside due to the belief that people and animals will become sick should they enter the home. While this practice was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2005, it is still continued by many villagers in the remote west.

Prakriti Kandel, who lives in Kathmandu with her family, had an epiphany after being blamed for her father’s mysterious illness. She is now the author of a novel called Imposter, which chronicles a society where menstruation gives women superpowers. Prakriti has serious ambitions to stop this discrimination for good and create positive change.

Read more and listen to the story on NPR.

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