The petition was filed by Thakur on November 2, seeking directions to the Union of India and the States to provide free sanitary pads to school girls. Thakur also called for a separate girls’ toilet in all Government aided and residential schools in her PIL. She highlighted that females aged between 11 to 16 years coming from poor backgrounds often lack access to menstrual hygiene.
“Menstruation makes the need for safe water, sanitation and hygiene important for women. In such conditions, access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene can be a matter of life and death. According to a report published by Water Aid, illnesses related to a lack of water, basic sanitation and hygiene were responsible for the deaths of almost 800,000 women around the world in a single year making it the fifth biggest killer of women behind heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”, the plea stated.
Thakur also stated that the lack of Menstrual Hygiene Management mechanisms and the stigma around menstruation in India lead to girl children opting out of education. “Unfortunately, it [menstruation] continues to be treated as a taboo in many societies, shrouded in a culture of silence and shame,” she said.