Whisper begins journey to break India’s period taboos

Popular actresses Kriti Sanon, Mandira Bedi & Golf Champion Sharmila Nicollet, with other Women Achievers talk about periods


  • More than half of urban Indian women practice menstrual taboos*
  • 65% of Women from the southern states of India do not go outside during their periods*

 Actress Kriti Sanon and Golf Champion Sharmila Nicollet at the Whisper #... Actress Kriti Sanon breaking period taboos at Whisper #TouchThePickle campaign in BangaloreKriti Sanon breaking period taboos at the whisper #TouchThePickle campaign in Bangalore Mandira Bedia  Kriti Sanon  Sharmila Nicollet  Tanvi Azmi and Dr.Suneela Garg at the Whisper #TouchThePickle campaign_Bangalore, 6th August 2014: Leading Sanitary Napkin brand Whisper and independent researcher IPSOS shared disturbing findings of a recent survey on menstruation undertaken in key metros of India. Attended by actor Kriti Sanon, Golfer Sharmila Nicollet, Mandira Bedi, Founder of Menstrupedia Aditi Gupta, Veteran actor Tanvi Azmi and Dr. Suneela Garg, the event brought to the fore some shocking facts about primitive practices related to women’s health and hygiene prevalent today.

Some of the findings that captured attention were:

  1. 91% urban women residing in Bangalore do not wash their hair during periods*
  2. 68% urban women from Bangalore don’t water the plants during their periods*
  3. 65% urban women from  South India don’t go outside during their periods*

Whisper’s movement to break period taboos, is touching the length and breadth of India, and has thrown light upon some alarming practices and taboos. Taking the first step towards kick starting a movement to bring down ignorance and myths, the first event was held in New Delhi followed by Chandigarh led by actors Shraddha Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin and Neha Dhupia who brought to the forefront the irrational period taboos prevalent in India today and encouraged women to step out of the mindset and defy these period taboos. Along with panelists the actors also advocated menstrual hygiene awareness by promoting the use of a good quality sanitary napkin like Whisper Ultra, would instill confidence and encourage women to be unstoppable in achieving their goals and dreams in life.

Linking sanitary hygiene solution & good quality sanitary napkins to confidence, Actor Kriti Sanon said, “While some of us women go about our professional lives with relative ease in the days of our periods, there are thousands my age who live every day bogged down by restrictions and taboos. A shocking 58% of urban women from the southern states of India do not touch pickle during their periods, more so 60% of Women across South India agree that it’s embarrassing to watch sanitary napkins commercials while watching TV with family. I want to encourage & urge all these women to go forth and defy regressive traditions in their pursuit of success.

Giving personal instances, she added, “My profession demands extensive travel, long shooting hours and rigourous rehearsals – and I simply cannot restrict myself due to these taboos imposed on us. When we have a superior solution such as Whisper Ultra with its all day long protection & superior technology, we need not worry.”

Talking about importance of menstrual education, Golfer Sharmila Nicollet said it’s time to ‘Whisper Out Loud’, “I think it is imperative that every young girl is imparted the right menstrual education, so that from a very young age she is aware of menstrual hygiene and practices. Hence I would like to advise family members, educational institutes to be supportive to the young girls when they get their periods and encourage them to participate in physical activities to be fit and confident everyday of the month. In this modern era we are blessed with a myriad of choices when it comes to high quality sanitary napkins, hence every girl should be educated on their usage and importance. Whisper’s strong advocacy and communication programme of bringing this topic out in the open and discussing it in public forums is a very positive step in removing the taboo of concealment. In a bid to change this mindset I applaud Whisper for taking up a cause and bringing it to the forefront of the society.”

Veteran actor Tanvi Azmi also shared, “I have personally successfully defied these taboos during my time. If I had followed these ‘pseudo’ traditions like my peers did, I would have been stuck with a regressive mindset and would have brought up the next generation with similar restrictions! As parents, we must have the right discussions around menstruation – and at correct times – with our children. Taboos that perpetuate our society must simply have no place. It is very encouraging to see that 96% Women from Bangalore agree that they should talk more openly about menstruation. Menstruation is considered a sign of good health & fertility and should be taken in that spirit.

The fundamental step towards empowering women during their menses is to create awareness on the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene. On this note Whisper has committed to educate 15 million girls on menstrual education by 2017”.

About Touch the Pickle Movement

Indian women in the 21st century still adhere to primitive practices of women’s health and hygiene. Menstrual unawareness leads to unhygienic practices, social taboos and low self esteem among girls. When girls are on their periods, they are often imposed with a list of restrictions: Don’t exercise, Hide your purchase of sanitary napkins, Don’t wear white clothes, Don’t say the word ‘period’ out loud, Don’t wash your hair, Don’t venture out and so on.

Contrary to these age-old beliefs, growing whispers on the street say that these restrictions are no longer needed. It’s about time women broke free from these taboos. You know that you’re perfectly capable of doing everything you could have done on a normal day, then why let age old myths hold you back?

The genesis of these taboos happened years ago, due to a lack of proper sanitary solutions, and has been passed on from over generations of women; they have no significance in today’s world with superior technology in sanitary pads such as Whisper.

Through this movement, Whisperis enabling women to break free from these taboos to be unstoppable by achieving their goals and chasing their dreams.

Visit http://www.pg-India.com for the latest updates and in-depth information about P&G India and its brands.

Join the Whisper #TouchThePickle movement to announce the end of period taboos on https://www.facebook.com/YouGoGirlIndia;

https://twitter.com/WhisperIndia and


*Based on a study carried out by Ipsos Research Pvt Ltd among 1105 women and 202 men in June 2014 across 10 cities

Top 30 survey claims for maximization –

Overall key claims-

 Period Taboos: logical or pseudo tradition?

  1. 65% of women from urban India  perceive monthly period as an obstacle in achieving their full potential
  2.  More than 50% of urban Indian women practice menstrual taboos.
  3. A surprising 65% urban women wash their hair only on the 4th day of the menses
  4. 59% of women in urban India  don’t touch the pickle during periods
  5. 54% of women in urban India  believe in not watering plants during periods
  6. 62% girls in India are unaware about menstruation till they get their first period
  7. A total of 52% women in urban India  do not prefer venturing out of their homes during periods
  8. 86%  Indian women feel they should learn to talk openly about menstruation though they are compelled by circumstances to face some of the common menstrual taboos,
  9. A Whisper Ultra Girl is more prepared for her first menses than a non-Ultra Girl.

Region Specific claims-

Progressive urban women still reel under ancient period taboos

  1. 82% of women from western states of India feel that  monthly menstruation cycle prevents them from achieving their full potential vs 50% of women from East India
  2. 62% of women from Southern states of  India agree that whenever they have to change a sanitary napkin they prefer to carry the entire bag in order to avoid public embarrassment  as compared to 17% women from North India.
  3. 54% women from urban India follow at least 5 taboos related to periods
  4. 48% of married women from Northern states of  India don’t share the same room with their husband during Periods vs 8% women from South India
  5. 55% of women from Southern states of  India still follow menstruation related rules & restrictions handed down by elders as compared to 40% of the women from Western states of  India
  6. 86% of women in East India still get their sanitary pads wrapped in a newspaper while purchasing.
  7. 86% of Men in East India are more embarrassed in buying sanitary napkins as compared to buying condoms
  8. A shocking 61% families in South India treat their women  as impure during periods
  9. 48% women from Western states of  India believe in not setting curds during their menses
  10. 55% of women from Western states of  India do not touch the masala box during their periods
  11. 70% women  from Northern states of  India do not believe in touching the pickle during their periods as compared to 53%  women from West India

Male Attitude towards Period Taboos-

Indian men feel irrational period taboos should be questioned!

  1. 89% of men feel if Indian sportswomen, actresses & women pilots had followed period restrictions, they would not have been where they are today
  2. 79% of Indian males feel irrational period taboos should be questioned
  3. 28% of males in urban India  become uncomfortable on the mere mention of the word periods
  4. 84% of urban males in Southern states of  India feel restricted because of the period taboos imposed on their wives


Overall sentiments across India on Period Taboos-

Let’s Talk Periods

  1. 41% of women in urban India  think it’s more awkward to discuss period problems than to talk about boyfriends/ relationship issues with family
  2. A intriguing  45% women across India usually avoid letting their family know when they have  periods in order to avoid embarrassment
  3. 89% of Indian women feel Menstruation is a sign of good health & fertility but still 43% women in East India and 33% women in West India do not make jams or jellies during menses
  4. 81% of  women in urban India believe Menstruation should not be such a hush word since it’s a natural process
  5. 82% women in urban India agree it’s time to break all those menstrual taboos & restrictions
  6. 81% of women in urban India feel there’s nothing wrong if women enter the kitchen or cook food during their periods
  7. 32 % of women in India feel  if you discuss period related issues openly,  people label you a ‘bad bold girl’
  8. While watching TV with their family, 69% of women in India feel embarrassed when a sanitary napkin commercial is aired.


Comments 1

  • This is a very good initiative by Whisper. Indian women are blindly following these myths, not being able to convince themselves that this is a ‘myth’ and also forcing other women in their family to follow the same. Some women do not want to understand the fact why following these taboos make no sense, due to availability of good quality sanitary products. I am really surprised to see Urban women, who are the face of the future India, still following these taboos.

    The way to get through this is by openly creating awareness… the #TouchthePickle ads are good. But, I request #Whisper to come up with more such ads, which also describe WHY IT IS A MYTH NOW. These ads should be telecasted extensively on TV. Only then many women will get a strength raise voice against these taboos and convince their families/societies to NOT to follow them and break free.