Sunday November 19, 2017

Red is the new green- Campaign by a Mumbai woman to educate women about menstrual cycles

Celebrating Womanhood. Image source Wikipedia

A step taken by Deane de Menezes for a cleaner environment

  • Saving the environment from the non-degradable waste is also a very big factor
  • Deane de Menezes takes steps to educate women about both
  • Sanitary napkin vendor machines and incinerators in schools soon

50% of girls in India had no knowledge of menstruation before their first period. According to Arundati Muralidharan of WaterAid India, 88% girls and women who menstruate use unsafe materials, and 70% mothers think periods are dirty found a study in 2014.

Lacking awareness in this sector worries Deane de Menezes. Whispers along the line, menstruation has always been a taboo. But what w really miss is the bigger picture- The Environment.

Hygiene tips. Image source Menstrupedia
Hygiene tips. Image source Menstrupedia

Deane de Menezes, a 22 year old research associate in international analytical company CRISIL decided to do something about it. She started Red is the new green campaign where they are installing sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators in Mumbai’s schools and create awareness of hygienic practices during menstruation. Not only providing sanitary napkins is a worry, but the waste generated by it is a bigger problem. “Every day, rag pickers are exposed to infections and other health hazards when handling feminine hygiene discards,” Menezes explained. “I’ve spoken to garbage men who have told me stories about how they have to segregate the waste and touch pads with their bare hands.”

Sanitary napkin vending machines in Japan. Image source wikimedia commons
Sanitary napkin vending machines in Japan. Image source wikimedia commons

“An average woman eliminates about 150kg of mostly non-biodegradable absorbents every year.” a study by periodofchange, a campaign that seeks safe, hygienic and sustainable menstrual hygiene products. Menezes aims to educate schoolgirls about alternative methods of disposing napkins carefully. With funding from CRISIL, she is working to install vending machines and incinerators in the Auxilium Convent High School Wadala, an eastern suburb of Mumbai. The vending machines and incinerators will also be installed in the school’s branch in Bandra’s Pali Hill, Bandra. “Other than that, we would like to give the girls a small pouch to keep their pads in a clean and safe manner,” she said. The vending machine and incinerator will be up by June 17.

She has already conducted sessions with schoolgirls about the importance of proper hygiene and how can they do their bit to save the environment.

-by Vrushali Mahajan

Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle- Vrushali Mahajan 


  1. This is highly appreciable. Still our old generation thinks menstruation as a taboo. In schools proper knowledge should be given in the primary level itself. One shouldn’t feel shy in knowing all this or in talking about it. It is just a natural healthy phenomenon. Nd most imp thing one should know that ” No female becomes dirty during her menstrual cycle.” This is totally a rubbish thought !!

  2. Yes, this type of education should be given at a primary level so that girls know what exactly to be done hen they go through their menstrual cycles.

  3. this is a great initiative! the lack of knowledge regarding something so natural is appalling. by educating students about it from a young age, we are infusing awareness and acceptance in the society.


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Breast Cancer Survivors Turn Showstoppers for Indian Designer Premal Badiani at New York Fashion Week

Her collection titled Valentia encouraged women especially the breast cancer fighters and survivors to embrace their womanhood with boldness

Breast cancer survivors
Premal Badian at New York Fashion Week. Facebook

New York, Sep 10, 2017: Breast cancer survivors Marry Ann DAchille and Ozlem turned showstoppers for Premal Badiani during her show at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW). The Indian designer paid tribute to real life fighters and survivors through her collection.

Her collection titled Valentia that means brave in Latin, was feminine and sexy, encouraging women especially the breast cancer fighters and survivors to embrace their womanhood with boldness, confidence and a touch of sensuality.

“I wanted to force people to re imagine the disease that is supposed to make a woman feel unattractive and lose her womanhood. My aim with this collection was to showcase the breast cancer fighters and survivors as any other woman – strong, sexy and sensuous while they took each step on the runway,” the designer said in a statement

The unconventional hand embroidery on each silhouette gave the collection a slightly mythical look that further enhanced the femininity. The colour palette with the hues of pink mixed with grey and green was carefully chosen to highlight breast cancer awareness, staying true to the brand’s philosophy of being one truly with heart and soul.

Badiani complemented her collection with exclusively designed, beautiful hand crafted floral and elk horn headpieces that symbolised strength, the fighter spirit yet being feminine and gorgeous.

Cancer survivor, Marry Ann D’Achille commented on walking the ramp, “My biggest excitement is serving the American Cancer Society and serving the designer and being introduced to her beautiful designs. I love the influence of her ideas.”

Also Read: India can bring down cost for Breast Cancer Detection, says US Scientist

Cancer fighter and survivor, Ozlem added, “Having the opportunity to walk the runway for Premal Badiani is an honour for me. It’s a reflection of the support that I’ve received and as a result of that the courage and strength it has provided me to be able to now be a breast cancer survivor.”

This is not the first time she is showcasing at NYFW. In the last season she made a collection where the primary fabric used was made from natural Cellulose fibres and produced from wood pulp, a natural renewable resource.

The label supported the American Cancer Society where VIP tickets and outfits were auctioned to raise funds for the charity. The designer tied up with brand Belsi as their jewellery partner.

“We decided to come onboard with Premal Badiani as we strongly believe in the cause and have always been a huge fan and supporter of everything that Premal does in and outside of fashion. We have always been a proponent of cancer awareness and we are happy to associate with a cause on this scale,” Belsi’s founder, Riddhi Fazal said. (IANS)


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Exclusive: India’s First Trans Queen Winner Nitasha Biswas Has a Message for the World

Nitasha Biswas will be contesting Miss Trans Queen International pageant in Thailand next year

Nitasha Biswas
Miss Trans Queen 2017 - Nitasha Biswas

Gurugram, September 07, 2017:  Beauty is not entitled to a particular gender; rather it is beyond the realms of sexuality. This year on Sept 03, India crowned its first ‘Miss Trans Queen 2017’-  Nitasha Biswas at a beauty pageant held in Gurugram (Gurgaon).

Reporter Naina Mishra of Newsgram brings you an exclusive interview with Nitasha Biswas where she speaks her heart out about the unfortunate fate of transgenders in the society. 

Miss Trans Queen 2017 India – Nitasha Biswas

The 26-year-old transwoman hails from Kolkata. From a tender age, Nitasha was aware of the gender dysphoria. She wanted to change her sexuality but at the same time pursue her basic education. Soon after completing her graduation, she flew to Delhi in the pursuit of her dreams.

Speaking to Newsgram, Nitasha says, “the journey started in childhood only when I was in school. I was firm that I would have to pave the way for this journey. My family was strict and had many restrictions back then, but I always knew that I have to complete my education.”

She lost her mother at the young age. Not succumbing to the circumstances, Nitasha self-nurtured herself to become what she is today.

Also Read: Nitasha Biswas: India Crowns its First Transqueen from Kolkata 

“My brother was the first person to acknowledge the changes and appreciated my will throughout the journey. I remember telling my father that if there is a will, there is a way to whatever you do.”

Questioning about the perception of society, Nitasha says: Transgenders have existed since the beginning of time. There can be different kinds of people – Tall, short, dark. But why not Transgender? You simply cannot stereotype based on the identity one carries. Everyone is born with a certain decorum in this world. The power doesn’t reside with us.

Before becoming a trans model, Nitasha has worked for Jabong as a stylist and was part of many other ventures.

Miss Trans Queen 2017 India – Nitasha Biswas

Dark sides are always going to exist, but it is equally important to shape your thoughts towards a positive direction and for Nitasha, it was celebrating womanhood.

She feels, “the coin has both sides, and the dark side is there but talking about the bright side holds value to me more. Everyone has a dark phase into their lives before they hail into a successful person.”

Transwomen are emerging out stronger than ever before. On the same lines, Nitasha questioned that why can’t transwomen be the Member of Parliament or the CEO of a Multi National Company. It is like limiting a person for where you come from and what you are.

Defining womanhood Nitasha says;

A woman is someone who is beautiful inside out. The calmness, serenity, strength, and audacity of embracing every role with perfection are something that defines a woman. 

Emphasizing the emotional sides of women, Nitasha said, I am a compassionate person, and I believe that for a woman, it is emotions which mould one into a beautiful lady.

While addressing the young women, Miss Trans Queen said:  

We all are on page 1 and no one is less. It’s time that we come forward to embrace our true selves and act for the betterment of tomorrow. 

After winning the title Nitasha’s life has changed. She says, “the crown is heavy but the heaviness of the crown comes to me as the responsibility. It’s the responsibility for the entire community to rise and shine. I am here to empower my community that we not less than anyone.”

To be a survivor is the best part of the whole journey. When I won the title, she said, I realized that the pain was worth going through. The prize overshadowed the sufferings of the past.

Nitasha aspires to be a Bollywood star in the near future. She will be contesting Miss Trans Queen International pageant in Thailand next year.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 


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Women of America Are Stepping Up As Nuclear Energy Advocates

Nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources

Nuclear Energy
Engineering manager Kristin Zaitz and her co-worker Heather Matteson, a reactor operator, started Mothers for Nuclear. VOA
  • The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years
  • Nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources
  • Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear

San Francisco, August 26, 2017: Kristin Zaitz is confident that her nuclear power plant is safe.

Zaitz, an engineering manager, was at Diablo Canyon Power Plant during both her pregnancies and has scuba dived to inspect the plant, which hugs the California coast. Zaitz wears a pendant with a tiny bit of uranium inside, an item that tends to invite questions.

“We all have our perceptions of nuclear,” Zaitz said.

In a few years, Diablo Canyon will close, part of a trend nationwide. The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years. Add to that ongoing concerns about public safety, such as those raised by memories of disasters at nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan, Chernobyl in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) and Three Mile Island in the United States.

Nuclear is ‘cleaner’ than fossil fuels

Supporters of nuclear energy say that when a reactor-based generating station closes, not enough wind and solar power is available to make up the difference. They lament that energy companies tend to turn instead to fossil fuels — coal and natural gas — which produce environmentally harmful emissions.

Zaitz and her co-worker Heather Matteson, a reactor operator, started Mothers for Nuclear, their effort to get the word out that nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources.

“I went into the plant very skeptical of nuclear and being scared of it,” said Matteson. “It took me six to seven years to really feel like this is something good for the environment. I don’t want people to take six to seven years to make that decision. We don’t have that long.”

Matteson, too, wears the uranium necklace as a conversation starter. “Nuclear is fun,” she said. Is there any radiation emitted by the pendant? “There’s slightly more than from a banana,” she conceded.

Also Read: Indian nuclear industry growing fast, says former Atomic Energy Commission chief

Women seen as powerful advocates

Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear. They can help change attitudes of other women who tend to be more skeptical than men about nuclear energy’s benefits.

At the recent U.S. Women in Nuclear conference in San Francisco, women working in the industry talked about how more should be done to make nuclear power’s case to the public, and how they may be the best suited to do it.

“As mothers, I think we also have an important role to play in letting the public know that we support nuclear for the future, for our children,” said Matteson. “And we don’t know other mothers supporting nuclear power in a vocal way. We thought there was a gap to fill.”

Young women say they look at careers in this industry because they are socially minded.

‘Do something good for the world’

“I went into this wanting to do something good for the world,” Lenka Kollar, business strategy director at NuScale, a firm in Oregon that designs and markets small modular reactors. “Wanting to bring power to people. There are still more than a billion people in the world who don’t have electricity.”

Critics of nuclear energy say it doesn’t matter who is promoting it.

“Using mothers’ voices to argue for a technology that is fundamentally dangerous and that has been demonstrated by disasters like Fukushima to be not safe for the communities that surround the power plants or even cities that are hundreds of miles away is disingenuous,” said Kendra Klein, a staff scientist with Friends of the Earth, an environmental group.

While the future of nuclear power in the United States may be uncertain, the women here say they have a positive story to tell. (VOA)