To Top

Ancient Tradition Of Exiling Menstruating Women To Be Outlawed In Nepal

Stronger laws to reinforce the ban of an ancient Hindu practice, called Chhaupadi, have been passed in Nepal. Although the practice was officially outlawed by the Nepal Supreme Court in 2005, many rural areas in Western Nepal still follow the custom.

According to The Guardian, “women are considered impure during their periods and immediately after childbirth. It is during these times that women are confined to animal or cowsheds. The name for the practice, Chhaupadi, is Hindi for ‘untouchable being.’”

The new laws being introduced are part of a bill to improve safety for women in the country. Anyone caught practicing the illegal custom will be subjected to a “three-month jail sentence,” and a fine of 3,000 Nepalese rupees (roughly $29.24 USD).

Amongst these laws to eliminate Chhaupadi in Nepal’s rural regions, the bill also features laws to prevent the common acid attacks that Nepal women face, and the ancient practice of giving a dowry in exchange for marriage, said The Guardian.

A large reason for the practice’s resilience, despite its loss of legality, is the ancient religious customs rampant in Nepal and its rural areas, which argue that not following these practices will anger their Hindu gods. According to legend, angering the gods can cause death, illness or even natural disasters.

“If we stay in the shed everything’s fine, but if we go home we get sick because our deities don’t approve of it,” said Nepal native Gita Rokava in a video documentary by The Guardian. “It’s cold and our clothes are constantly dirty. It’s a sad thing. We don’t want to live like this but our gods won’t tolerate it any other way.”

]In the same video interview by The Guardian, Gita’s husband Ramal said, “We are forced to do it.”

“Even when I tried to keep her at home in the past, I was forced to conform with society and allow her to do Chhaupadi,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter to practice Chhaupadi. It’s not humane, so I hope she doesn’t have to do it.”

But eliminating the practice has proved to be rather complicated. Many natives to the area believe that the consequences of not following these customs are worse than the health complications and the dangers that women face when condemned to animal sheds.

“On his insistence,” Gita had explained, “I stayed at home when I had my son and for four years I was sick as a result. That’s why I went back to the shed.”

Another Nepal native, Safalta Rokaya, also spoke on her experiences with Chhaupadi. “When the night falls,” she explained, “men harass us. They come here but they haven’t done anything to me yet because my parents beat them up and they run away. After my first experience in the shed, I wished that I didn’t have a period.”

With this new bill comes a new awareness method to be incorporated by the authorities in an effort to ensure the ban’s success in exterminating the outdated practice.

Head of the parliamentary panel who finalized the bill, Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, said, “for the next year we will conduct social campaigns to tell the people about this new law.”

Many other political figures in Nepal, as The Guardian reported, are calling for even further education programs to stop Chhaupadi at the root cause of the problem: miseducation and centuries of sexist prejudice against women, which are ingrained into virtually all elements of Nepal’s social systems.

Featured Image by DFID – UK Department for International Development on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Janice Henshaw

    August 23, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    This is finally the end of such a hideous practice of damning women. I hope it’s also
    banned in some African nations wher it was a stupid demonstration of their beliefs
    against women . Thank you for this important mewsOur new Mojis and emoticons are here— Send a message to your Valentine (heart) , friends and family, or even that special someone you’ve been thinking about (inlove) ! Learn moreprthy article?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Be Informed

  • How to Manage Perfectionism

    Perfectionism can be extremely harmful as well as difficult to manage. Luckily there are ways to cope and improve your mental...

    Lydia SchapiroSeptember 24, 2020
  • Naomi Osaka Advocates for Racial Justice

    Learn about how star tennis player, Naomi Osaka, shows her social activism and support to racial justice on the court.

    Lydia SchapiroSeptember 16, 2020
  • Sustainability at Home

    Cultivating sustainability in the home is easier than you think! Learn about the easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly....

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 27, 2020
  • How Will College Change in the Fall?

    Keep reading to learn about the question marks surrounding the coming semester.

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 26, 2020
  • Egypt Making Strides Toward Equality

    Egypt took a step further in the direction of women’s rights a few days ago, approving a law that would protect...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 21, 2020
  • Black Mothers: The Risk of Giving Birth

    Serena Williams was not the first black woman to be ignored by her doctor post-partum. Black mothers consistently balance the joy...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 14, 2020
  • No More Bumps: 5 Steps to Smooth Skin

    Ladies, it’s hard to feel nice and smooth after shaving when ingrown hairs and bumps immediately take the spotlight. However, not...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 13, 2020
  • Healthy Social Media Use

    Social media presence has increased for decades, remaining incredibly prevalent in everyday life. Cultivate healthy habits by learning about the effects...

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 12, 2020
  • No Woman was Surprised by What Happened to AOC

    A few weeks ago, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was insulted by Representative Ted Yoho being called a “f—ing bitch” and “dangerous.” Afterwards,...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 12, 2020
  • The Meaning Behind #ChallengeAccepted

    Recently, a trend has surfaced on Instagram where women nominate one another privately to post a black and white picture of...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 11, 2020