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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

Schools should have a sanitary pad box, it’s serious issue for girls: teen at receiving end

The response has been widely criticised, and the IAS officer has issued a written apology. In the statement containing the apology, Bamhrah had also listed what the state government had done for girls.

19-year-old Riya Kumari

The 19-year-old from Patna, who asked Bihar’s Women Development Corporation (WDC) managing director why the government could not arrange for sanitary pads at schools, has said it was a “serious concern of school-going girls”. She said she asked the question because she and many of her friends had never got any money to buy sanitary pads and she wanted to suggest that each school should have a sanitary pad box so that girls have access to the product when needed.

In response to Riya Kumari’s question at a workshop on the theme of women’s empowerment, organised by the WDC and UNICEF, WDC Chairman-cum-Managing Director Harjot Kaur Bamhrah had said: “The question is about whether the government can give sanitary pads. There can also be demands for jeans and good shoes tomorrow, and finally, when it comes to family planning, there can be demand for free contraceptives.”

The response has been widely criticised, and the IAS officer has issued a written apology. In the statement containing the apology, Bamhrah had also listed what the state government had done for girls. This included, according to her statement, “giving Rs 300 to each girl student (from Class 6 and above) monthly to buy sanitary pads”.

Harjot Kaur Bamhrah (left) speaking at event on the occasion of International Women’s Day. (Source: Women Development Corporation, Bihar)

Riya said she never received the money.

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“I asked questions on sanitary pads as I and several of my friends never got any money to buy sanitary pads. What I wanted to suggest was to put a sanitary pad box at every school so that girls do not have to face embarrassment,” she said.

“When some people clapped at my sanitary pad question, the WDC CMD did not like it. I had flagged a serious concerns of school-going girls,” Riya said.

The teenager, who lives in a slum just behind the BJP and RJD offices in Patna, is the only person in her family to have passed Class 10. Her father, who had worked as a labourer, died last year of illness.

First published on: 30-09-2022 at 03:37:35 am
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