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Water & Sanitation

Film Breaking Period Taboos in India Gets Shortlisted for Oscars

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Ensuring access to menstrual hygiene is an important step in achieving gender equality. All women and girls deserve to have access to the products they need to be safe and healthy. You can take action on issues like this here.

Period. End of Sentence., the short film about an Indian activist's pad-producing machine, has been shortlisted in the Documentary Short Subject Category for the 2019 Academy Awards, Bollywood news site PinkVilla reported.

Arunachalam Muruganantham, also known as “Padman”, worked on manufacturing and distributing an affordable, high-quality pad for women in India after realizing his wife used a rag during her period — because buying a sanitary pad would negatively impact their milk budget.

He spent years attempting to make the pads, testing them himself using goat blood, despite community backlash. His attempts eventually led to him creating a semi-automated machine that could produce two sanitary napkins per minute, and it won him an award at the National Innovation Foundation of India in 2006, according to NPR.

Take Action: Demand Sanitation: Ask Corporates to End the Struggle for Safe Toilets

His story was even turned into a Bollywood hit called Padman, which was released in 2018 and applauded by activists like Malala Yousafzai.

Now, a 26-minute documentary showcases girls and women using Muruganantham's machine and talking about how it's imapcted their lives in Harpur in the Indian state of Bihar, according to NPR.

In India, Muruganantham has provided more than 4,000 machines to women, and more than 200 machines to 27 other developing countries since 2006, NPR reported.

Period. End of Sentence. does more than just tell an activist's success story — it sheds light on the importance of tackling menstrual taboos.

Many women face obstacles while on their period in India. Social stigma can lead them to feel ashamed, uncomfortable, and unclean. Lack of toilets and clean water can lead to sanitation and health issues, and cause girls to miss out on their education.

That is why open dialogue is so important — and why a documentary like Period. End of Sentence. could mean big things for health, sanitation, and gender equality.