Intocabilidad basada en el género y ayuda en casos de desastre en Nepal

El artículo 1 de nuestra Constitución dice que todos tienen derecho a una vida digna. Si las mujeres son consideradas intocables cada mes, ¿dónde está su dignidad?

Story by Chandra Bhadra. Translated by Alexis Cañari Moña
Nepal, Southern Asia
Published on February 6, 2021

Reading time: 5 minutes

This story is also available in GB de tr



Como profesora emérita en la Universidad de Tribhuvan en Katmandú en temas de género, pasé al menos la mitad de mis 70 años estudiando los desafíos que enfrentan las mujeres en la sociedad. También he experimentado de primera mano estos desafíos. Durante mi etapa de desarrollo, el sentimiento de impureza al tener mi período estaba arraigado en mí. Me daba mucho miedo hacer Puja [1] o ir al templo. En Nepal, cuando tienes la regla, tienes camas y utensilios separados. Ni siquiera se te permite tocar la alfombra que otras personas comparten. En algunas áreas, las mujeres y las niñas se quedan en chozas alejadas de casa. En otras palabras, las mujeres durante su periodo son “intocables” [2].

En la casa de mis padres no era así, pero cuando iba a casa de mi tío y mi tía me trataban como impura durante mi periodo. Me sentí horrible, degradada y con un sentimiento de pérdida de mi dignidad. Esto fue especialmente difícil cuando era aún una adolescente y bastante tímida.

Pero déjenme contarles cómo mis amigas y yo abordamos la higiene del período después del terremoto del año 2015 [3]. Cuando ocurrió la tragedia, todos corrieron por sus vidas con sólo la ropa que llevaban y nada más. Las mujeres no tenían nada para utilizar durante la menstruación. Empezaron a conseguir artículos de socorro y muchos grupos de mujeres que trabajaban en el área de la ayuda en casos de desastres entregaron almohadillas desechables, sin embargo, estos productos no eran amigables con el medio ambiente y además eran poco prácticos, ya que se necesitaba una gran cantidad. Yo era profesora en ese entonces y trabajé con los estudiantes para preparar y distribuir "kits de menstruación" a las mujeres afectadas por el terremoto. Ello inició mi pasión por proteger a las mujeres de la intocabilidad en Nepal.

Después de pensar y hablar con algunos amigos, empezamos a preparar y distribuir compresas sanitarias reutilizables. Colocamos 4 almohadillas reutilizables de algodón, dos piezas de ropa interior, imperdibles de seguridad y jabón en bolsas y se las entregamos a las mujeres. Este kit costaba 300 rupias nepalíes por bolsa (2.50 USD), pero duraría todo un año.

Escribí e-mails a colegas y amigos presentándoles la idea con una investigación informal. Comenzamos una recaudación de fondos. En tres semanas, recogimos 350.000 rupias nepalíes (2.887,15 USD). Luego, la facultad de medicina en Dharan, una ciudad importante al este de Nepal también quiso participar. Mis estudiantes y otras personas se involucraron y fue así como la idea se extendió hasta la ciudad de Pokhara, en donde los estudiantes de la Universidad de Pokhara y el Campus Prithvi Narayan colaboraron en la realización de los "Kit de menstruación" armándolos y distribuyéndolos en el epicentro del distrito de Gorkha.

Recibí 1.000 dólares de otros miembros de la organización “Sociologists for Women in Society”[4]. Nos conectamos con "Nagarik Awaz", una ONG de paz que lleva artículos de socorro a las aldeas afectadas [5] e iniciamos diálogos comunitarios con hombres y mujeres de las comunidades que recibieron ayuda. Tuvimos hallazgos interesantes: hombres y mujeres sienten que la menstruación es un acontecimiento natural y biológico y que, no hay intocabilidad al respecto, sin embargo, la sociedad dicta que la menstruación es impura.

Desde un punto de vista legal, pude influenciar cuando el gobierno nepalí estaba decidiendo una nueva constitución en 2015. Realicé una presentación ante el comité parlamentario [6]para mujeres, niños y ancianos, abogando para lograr que la intocabilidad basada en el género sea ilegal en la constitución. Aunque los miembros del comité fueron positivos durante la reunión de consulta, la Constitución del 2015 aprobó una ley poco clara, afirmando que no se puede discriminar a las personas "sobre la base de su condición física", sin detallar " la intocabilidad durante la menstruación", específicamente.

Mis colegas y yo presionamos al gobierno. Escribí un artículo [7]exigiendo una disposición contra la intocabilidad en el periodo de menstruación. Hasta ahora, la formulación de la ley no ha cambiado.
El artículo 1 de nuestra Constitución dice que todos tienen derecho a una vida digna. Si las mujeres son consideradas intocables cada mes, ¿dónde está su dignidad?


[1] Una ceremonia de oración y el ritual del culto diario en la tradición hindú. Participar de la Puja mientras se tiene el periodo mestrual, fue y aún hoy en día, es considerado impuro.

[2] Esta práctica se llama sistema Chhaupadi en Nepal, las mujeres son consideradas "impuras" durante su menstruación y se les prohíbe a los sombreros o vivir fuera durante este tiempo. Oficialmente ya no es legal, pero en algunas zonas rurales todavía se puede encontrar.

[3] El "terremoto de Nepal de 2015, también llamado terremoto de Gorkha, fue un terremoto severo que golpeó cerca de la ciudad de Katmandú en el centro de Nepal, el 25 de abril de 2015. Cerca de 9.000 personas murieron, muchos miles más resultaron heridos y más de 600.000 estructuras en Katmandú y otras ciudades cercanas fueron dañadas o destruidas."

[4] Un grupo feminista de sociólogas con sede en los Estados Unidos: https://socwomen.org

[5] https://www.nagarikaawaz.org.np

[6] Organizaciones sub-legislativas

[7] https://kathmandupost.com/opinion/2015/07/30/legal-omission


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Chandra Bhadra

Chandra Bhadra

Namaste! 

My name is Chandra Bhadra and I have been doing so much in these 70 years of life, I do not know where to start. Right now I am kind of relaxing, and love to harvest delicious guavas from my garden here in Pokhara, but I am a professor emeritus at Tribhuvan University on Gender and have written the book “Three Decades of Academic Advocacy for Gender Equality and Empowerment of women in Nepal”. We are working on distributing and selling it for a small fee (500 Nepali Rupees, which is less than US$5), this money is used for a scholarship for the one best performing student in Gender Studies subject in the 12th grade. I was born in 1948. Now I am 71 years old. Considering my mother living a very healthy life and dying at the age of 98 years, I also feel I have about 25 years more to go in my life. For all these coming years, I have several more books on my list to write.

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