Empowerment of women is empowerment of nation: Akshay Kumar

Bollywood’s megastar and India’s very own ‘Pad Man’, Akshay Kumar who is supporting a nationwide campaign on menstrual awareness, says the empowerment of women is the empowerment of a nation.

The menstrual awareness campaign ‘#18to82’ aims of bridging the gap between the 18 per cent of menstruating females in India who use sanitary napkins, and the 82 per cent predominantly engaging in unhygienic practices.

The pioneering campaign launches ahead of the inauguration of the ‘Niine Movement’, an ambitious new initiative aimed at raising awareness of menstrual hygiene and tackling the age-old stigma against menstruation across both genders and all age groups.

Speaking about his support for the Niine Movement, Akshay Kumar on Wednesday said,’Open and unafraid conversations on menstruation are powerful as they help to breakdown taboos. I am honoured to support the Niine Movement with the launch of the #18to82 campaign, because menstrual hygiene is an urgent issue that we must resolve in India.’

‘Together we can ensure that every female has the right to manage her period safely and with dignity, and the Niine Movement can drive the social revolution that India needs to initiate change for an entire country. The empowerment of women is the empowerment of a nation,’ Akshay said.

Akshay Kumar is a renowned woman empowerment advocate and boldly tackled the issue of the menstrual taboo in the award-winning film Pad Man.

He supports the ‘Niine Movement’ as a continued champion of the cause of menstrual hygiene.

Akshay Kumar took to social media to support the ‘#18to82’ campaign with the message, ‘ONLY 18% of Indian women use sanitary napkins vs 82% who use unhygienic means. I support the #NIINEMovement which breaks the taboos; encourages conversations on periods.Help bridge the gap from #18to82, register on www.niine.com.’

‘Despite India housing 355 million menstruating women, the second highest menstruating population globally, approximately only 18 per cent of them currently use sanitary napkins – with the other 82 per cent of women often reverting to unhygienic and unsafe alternatives such as old cloths, rags, hay and even ash,’ Akshay said.

‘The key stimulus behind this staggering statistic can be traced back to decades of archaic attitudes and stigmas surrounding menstruation and the lack of accessibility for safe and affordable sanitary products,’ the actor said.

‘A result of the unwillingness to discuss female menstruation is the subsequent culture of silence and shame which has left women with no choice but to partake in unsafe menstrual practices behind closed doors–frequently resulting in urinary and reproductive tract infections, stress, anxiety, and even gender-based violence,’ the 50-year-old actor said.

The ‘Niine Movement’ is conceived by social entrepreneur Amar Tulsiyan.

Speaking about the launch of the movement Amar Tulsiyan said, “We each have a responsibility to do what we can to tackle the taboos around menstruation and educate the next generation about periods in the right way. It is my hope that through the #18to82 campaign the Niine Movement becomes the spark that leads the way in bringing menstrual hygiene and dignity to every woman and girl in India.”

An ambitious five-year plan committed to grass-root change, the ‘Niine Movement’ will be launched at the Menstrual Awareness Conclave taking place in Delhi on Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Day on May 28.

The Menstrual Awareness Conclave will convene renowned film personalities, academics, policymakers, government officials, activists, business stalwarts, NGOs, thought-leaders, including Akshay Kumar, to discuss the impact that stigma and taboos on menstruation have had on holding girls and women back for centuries.


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