Nepal criminalizes isolating women during menstruation
Nepal, the landlocked Himalayan nation, has taken a very progressive decision to criminalise forcing menstruating women to stay out of their homes in special huts. Stigmatisation of menstruation is a serious social issue that needs to be tackled. Many communities in Nepal consider menstruating women as impure and they are forced to sleep in a hut, away from their homes, while they are menstruating. This custom is known as chhaupadi.
As per the new law, anyone practising chhaupadi would be imposed 2000 Rs fine or three-month jail, or both.
The Nepali parliament unanimously agreed that “A woman during her menstruation or postnatal state should not be kept in chhaupadi or treated with any kind of similar discrimination or untouchable and inhumane behaviour” The law will be implemented from next year.
During the period of chhaupadi, women are deemed untouchable and not allowed to touch men, cattle or food. They are only permitted to live in secluded huts known as chhau goth.
Women rights activists in Nepal are protesting against this custom since a long time. There are also cases of deaths during the ritual. Last month a girl died due to snake bite while she was asleep in her hut.