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PM Modi Breaks Taboo by Talking about Sanitary Napkins in I-Day Speech, Wins Hearts Online

PM Modi at the Red Fort on 74th Independence Day. 
(Image credit: Twitter)

PM Modi at the Red Fort on 74th Independence Day. (Image credit: Twitter)

Social media hailed PM Modi for being India's first prime minister to make a mention of sanitary napkins during his 74th independence day speech.

On the 74th Independence Day, PM Modi delivered his seventh consecutive I-Day speech from Delhi's Red Fort this morning and one of the key highlights of his speech was the discussion around his government's policies towards women's empowerment and social media is all in praises.

"This government has been always concerned about the health of our daughters and sisters. Through 6,000 Janaushadhi centres, about 5 crore women have got sanitary pads at Re 1. Also, for their weddings, we have made committees so that the money can be used at the right time," said PM Modi said on the morning of August 15.

What became the highlight on social media soon after is this particular bit in his speech. PM Modi became India's first prime minister to make a mention of sanitary napkins during an independence day speech.

Modi's speech drew a round of praises from social media. Menstruation, sanitary napkins are not usually a part of men's vocabulary. So to have the Prime Minister speak about it on Independence Day meant a lot in shattering those taboos.

"We welcome Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s Independence Day Speech, which is particularly a huge victory for those of us working in the field of women’s and young people’s reproductive health and empowerment. The focus of the PM’s speech was enabling and empowering youth and women to be skilled and creative and provide innovative solutions in every sphere for building an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat’," said Poonam Muttreja, a public health expert and Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India.

Poonam said that Modi's speech provides an encouragement to talk kore openly about issues that are critical for the empowerment of girls and women, including access to menstrual hygiene products and preventing early marriages, which are vital in any conversation about India's future.

READ: Why Menstrual Leave Shouldn't Just be a Corporate Policy but Legal, Social Right

READ: 'I Was Fired For Taking Period Leave': A Dalit SC Lawyer Reveals Discrimination She Faced

This speech comes at a time when there are conversations on whether companies should be granting women 'period leave' after food-delivery app Zomato announced their plans for doing the same.

According to a study done in 2017 by Women’s fertility and health tracker, Maya, almost 68 percent of Indian women have severe period-related symptoms such as cramps, tiredness, and bloating. For such women, period leaves can be a boon. In fact, period leaves shouldn't just be the privilege that women in white-collar jobs can access, and it is imperative that women from rural sectors, low-income households are also given this benefit.

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