Keep Girls In School
1 out of 5 girls in the country drop out of school when they get their periods.
Menstrual Hygiene in India has always been in a worrisome state. Studies have revealed that about 71% of the girls in India are not aware about periods when they first get them. This goes to show the state of Menstrual Hygiene in the country today. About 88% of the women still use cloth, ash, hay etc either completely or partially. This probably is the reason why 75% of the women in our country suffer from dysfunctions related to menstruation. The biggest impact however is seen in the fact that 1 out of 5 girls in the country drop out of school when they get their periods.
The barriers to adopting menstrual hygiene practices are three-fold: a lack of awareness, a lack of acceptance and a lack of access.
A lack of awareness leads to girls having no prior information about periods before they experience them for the first time. Also, owing to a lack of awareness, they do not prioritize it as an essential health need.
A lack of acceptance leads to the term period being negative for women, associated with fear, anxiety and embarrassment. The lack of acceptance means most women want to keep their period a secret, which results in them not using sanitary hygiene products and missing school as a way to manage menstruation.
A lack of access to quality hygiene products continues to be a barrier to achieving 100% coverage for menstrual hygiene. Studies indicate that most girls do not have consistent access to good-quality menstrual hygiene products.
To tackle the issue of awareness, to ensure that girls do not drop out of school when they get their periods - and keeping in line with our brand purpose – to unleash women’s & girls’ confidence so they can be whoever they want to be – and P&G’s commitment to gender equality – building a world where everyone is seen equal – we launched our “Keep Girls in School” Program. Through this program, we want to bring to light the fact that 1 in 5 girls are dropping out of school each year and we don’t even notice. To bridge this gap, we have reinforced our pledge to double the impact of our existing menstrual hygiene education program by reaching 5 crore girls by 2022.
Our vision for KGIS is outlined as follows: ‘Whisper, as a brand, has been at the forefront of MH education in the country for close to three decades. Since the Whisper School Program started in 1995, we’ve provided puberty education and access to period products to around 2-3 crore girls and target to impact 5 crore girls by 2022. With KGIS, we want to scale up these efforts with the vision of educating 100% of all adolescent girls in the country on Menstrual Hygiene - so as to ensure that no girl drops out of school when she gets her period.’
Actor Bhumi Pednekar has supported the awareness drive. "Whisper's initiative comes at a time when empowering the young women of India with the right knowledge and education is critical for our country’s growth. It is a rare opportunity where each of us can collectively make a difference in the lives of young girls. It truly is time to #KeepGirlsInSchool," Pednekar said.
We have also partnered with UNESCO to maximise the reach of our program and to lend an authoritative voice to our campaign. We are also working with multiple NGOs across different parts of the country to reach out to the maximum number of girls possible. With KGIS, we aim to create a far-reaching and meaningful impact on the lives of the girls in our country and to ensure that every girl gets the fair chance to achieve her dreams.