Menstrual huts representational image
Menstrual huts representational image

A village in Western Nepal’s Acham district will give cash reward to women who refuse to be left alone in illegal ‘menstrual huts’ while they are on periods.

The decision was taken after a 21-year-old woman, a resident of Purbichowki village of the district, was found dead on Monday after she was sent to such a hut on the third day of her periods on Sunday.

“She had lit a fire to keep herself warm in the freezing mud and stone hut but she was found dead on Monday,” police officials of Nepal’s Acchan district said on Tuesday.

“It appears she died out of suffocation,” the police added.

The custom of sending menstruating women to menstrual huts is called as Chhaupadi and is still prevalent in some remote areas of Western Nepal.

These women were forced to live in these menstrual huts as it was widely believed that women in their periods bring misfortune and bad luck to the community.

They were not allowed to meet other family members or venture out and were forced to eat frugally.

They were also barred from touching several items like- milk, idols and cattle.

Chhaupadi was outlawed in 2005 after a teenage girl, her mother and her two young brothers died in a similar way earlier that year.

Purbichowki village municipality chairman Dirgha Raj Bogati said he will reward women who reject chhaupadi with 5,000 Nepali rupees ($44).

“We need to tear down the huts in our minds, change attitudes and accept menstruation as a natural process in the life of a woman,” Bogati said.

“Demolishing the huts have proven ineffective,” he added.

“If we dismantle one hut, they move away and build another one,” he added.

“The new reward – a one-off payment to deter families from using the huts – will benefit 100 women this year,” Bogati added.

Nepal government had introduced three-month jail terms and fines of 3,000 rupees for those who exclude menstruating women and girls.

“Such an inhumane practice is a blot on our civilisation,” Bogati said.


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