Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Susan Wadley, Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies, Professor of Anthropology

Honors Reader

Jamie Winders, Associate Professor of Geography

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Geography | Human Geography | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


With so many challenges facing education today, it is difficult to think about any more potential problems kids around the world have to deal with. However, as I came to realize during a semester abroad in South India – one problem might be messier than all the rest. And, it only affects girls. Menstruation often limits a girl’s ability to go to school for a variety of reasons. This paper documents some of those challenges girls face in regard to cultural taboos and social stigmatization, a lack of knowledge or historical misunderstanding, as well as the fact that for many girls in the developing world (in places like India, where I studied), the cost of sanitary napkins is simply too much. I argue that increased education, through campaigns or active participation in local communities, will help alleviate some of the worries young girls face when managing menstruation and help keep them in school. Evidence for this argument is found in some independent research I completed in Saragur, Karnataka in 2011, with a followup visit in 2013. While the problem may seem grim, solutions are possible – all for the price of a pad.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.