Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Susan Wadley, Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies, Professor of Anthropology
Jamie Winders, Associate Professor of Geography
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
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.
Walton, Sarah, "Does Menstruation Hinder Women's Empowerment? Working Toward Social Change In South India" (2013). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 50.
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