India’s Unschooled Teens Empowered with Sex Ed

Leslie Carol Botha: Education is crucial for women – this is when young girls become empowered.  If girls are educated and empowered they have a greater chance of being equal instead of oppressed. Information on Sex Ed is vital – along with menstrual hygiene. According to Elissa Stein and Susan Kim’s book, Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, when women gained accessed to feminine hygiene in the U.S. the two greatest movements in women’s history took place: Women fought for and won the right to vote – and the birth of the women’s movement took place. Lack of menstrual hygiene education and products demoralizes women.

Sex Ed Effective for India’s Unschooled Teens

By Swapna Majumdar
WeNews correspondent
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And that can be life-saving in a place such as Gujarat, India, where 40 percent of brides are under 20 and anemia is a major threat. A three-year awareness campaign shows how much can be changed by education and information.

Indian-girl-with-hands-behind-her-back

Credit: Kara Newhouse on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

NEW DELHI (WOMENSENEWS)–When Nandi Jhala got married eight years ago at the age of 11 she didn’t know the man she married.

She’d left her village school in the western part of Gujarat state at 8, after a couple of years of schooling, and understood nothing about pregnancy or reproductive and sexual health.

All she knew was that, like her elder sister, she would soon have to produce children.

So far, though, she’s defied the odds. She has no children yet.

“I am only 19 and I know I should not have children until my body is capable of childbearing,” Jhala told Women’s eNews. “Also, I want to plan my family, unlike my older sister who already has three children. I have conveyed this to my husband.”

Jhala added that she has also started looking after her health. “I know now how to maintain menstrual hygiene,” she said.

That information can be life-saving for a young woman such as Jhala, who lives in the Indian state of Gujarat, where about 40 percent of brides are under the age of 20.

Six thousand adolescent mothers die each year in India, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (2005-06). At present, the maternal mortality rate in India is 212 per 100,000 live births, whereas the country’s target is to reduce it to 109 per 100,000 live births by 2015.

Jhala has benefited from a government program called Mamta Taruni (Adolescent Girls), which is run by the state government in conjunction with the Center for Health Education Training and Awareness, an advocacy group based in Gujarat.

The program provides information and services on reproductive and sexual health and nutrition to out-of-school female adolescents between 10 and 19 years old.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.