Bhubaneswar: Our society is structured in such a manner that for ages it is the mindset and has become a cult tradition to keep women at the least priority sections. In families, it is majorly seen that not only men but women themselves tend to shy away from putting their health problems as an important factor citing various other excuses. That may be age-old deep-rooted conditioning, that both men and women are susceptible to this mindset of putting the women of the family at the end in terms of their health.
Especially issues relating to reproductive health, are a most neglected area. There have been many facets of reasons for this, social, economic, and most importantly gender. Reproductive health of women, particularly problems associated with menopause is still a taboo to be discussed and discloses in front of others. Women are taught to be covert about it. It is a social taboo that everyone shies away from. So, it is obvious that whenever a woman or a girl faces problems in this regard is kept under wrap and hesitant to discuss it. The reproductive age of women starts from 15 – 49 when they need additional health care as well as nutrition. The women and girls should be made aware of the repercussions of hiding the issues related to their reproductive health and encouraged to open up and share about it.
Along with other grave torments the Covid-19 has caused put a great adverse impact on women’s sexual health as well. The major reasons were the poor and sudden loss of livelihood causing a dearth of financial support in families, the mental stress increased due to the constant imposition of lockdowns/ shutdowns made the women refrain from visiting the hospitals mounting the fear of the virus. In the course of prolonged lockdowns, millions of couples in India could not access contraception, increasing 2.3 million unintended pregnancies and more than 80 crores of unsafe abortions, which is the third dominating factor of maternal deaths in India. The pandemic worsened the hesitation of women to go to the doctors and consult about their health problems. The pressure has been multi-facet on women; financial, social, and psychological to suppress their health issues, while covid making it worse for them.
Women from all sections and starts have paradoxically gone through varied similar problems with this pandemic hit. The quantum of the plight might be different for women in various economic, social and geographic spheres, the nature of the agony is related to each other. Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STD & STI), problems relating to menstruation and PCOS, maternity health and other gynaecological issues faced by women, are majorly considered to be a social taboo or a matter of shame to address and discuss. These psyches need to be changed for a better gender-sensitive social environment all over. For this not only it is required to educate the girls but both men and women have to be conscious and aware firmly.