"I Bleed and It's No Problem": Dispelling Stigma Around Menstruation in Nepal


Following two screenings of our film, Chaupadi: Banished for Bleeding, in Kathmandu last week, audiences were engaged in lively debates on taboos in Nepal around menstruation. At the screening at the Family Planning Association of Nepal - Kathmandu Valley (FPAN), young women and men shared accounts of how they are challenging stigma around menstruation. Our film was also screened by UN Women and UNFPA, where UN staff members discussed interventions to reduce harmful practices and rituals associated with menstruation in Nepal.

Chaupadi, where girls are banished to dangerous and isolating sheds while menstruating, is an illegal yet common example of an extreme menstruation taboo in the Western regions of Nepal. However, throughout the country, misconceptions and stigma about menstruation continue to afflict women and girls. Some girls in Kathmandu may be secluded after their first menstruation for up to 11 days, missing school and unable to participate in daily life. Nevertheless, progress is happening in Nepal and girls are leading the way!

Assistant Director - Development, Erica Belanger, at FPAN

Assistant Director - Development, Erica Belanger, at FPAN

Radha, a youth volunteer at FPAN - Kathmandu Valley, spoke about how she combats discrimination by encouraging their peers to share their struggles and learn about sexual and reproductive health. She shared about her experience with menstruation taboo:

In Nepal, there is this misconception about bleeding. Boys here think that menstruation is a bad thing. But I bleed and it’s no problem. Our mothers and grandmothers did not have as many options.
— Radha (youth volunteer at FPAN - Kathmandu Valley)

SafeHands was in Nepal to explore partnerships and potential areas for future work in Nepal. We look forward to complementing the national and local efforts improving reproductive and sexual health and to ameliorating the lives of women and girls in Nepal.

Nancy Durell Mckenna