Whisper’s latest campaign seeks to widen and deepen awareness about menstrual hygiene and ensure girls, especially those in rural areas, do not stay away from school because of their periods.
Through its campaign, Whisper plans to intensify its efforts to multiply the impact of its current menstrual hygiene education programme by touching the lives of 50 million girls by 2022.
Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the campaign, called #KeepGirlsInSchool, is based on statistical analysis that one in five girls drop out of school each year owing to difficulties these children experience during their menstrual cycles. The film shows how girls actually go missing from school during their menstrual periods and are barely noticed.
Chetna Soni, who is Category Leader — Feminine Care, P&G Indian Sub-Continent, said: “Whisper has become synonymous with challenging societal barriers to menstrual hygiene in the country through its path-breaking campaigns and #KeepGirlsInSchool is the latest edition in the brand’s illustrious history. We pioneered breaking period taboos by using our voice in advertising and media through trail-blazing award-winning campaign #TouchThePickle and following it up with revolutionary campaigns like #SitImproper and #WhispersBreakSilence.”
“When we started our journey in India three decades ago, the number of women using sanitary protection was less than 10 million. Our efforts to create awareness and education have been critical to increasing this number to more than seven crore women today,” Soni added.
Rajdeepak Das, Managing Director, India and CCO South Asia, Leo Burnett, said: “It is shocking to know that even today in India, one in five girls drop out of school because of period hygiene. We have been partnering with Whisper to not only tell this moving story, but with the #KeepGirlsinSchool initiative we want to jolt people with the reality of these numbers and encourage everyone to join us in our movement to towards achieving 100 per cent menstrual hygiene in the country.”
The campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. Recently, there was a shocking instance where a college in Bhuj in the state of Gujarat forced its female students to strip to check if they were menstruating! Such is the taboo that continues to be associated in the 21stcentury in the world’s largest democracy.
This was followed by a video of a preacher, Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji from Swaminarayan Bhuj Mandir, of the sect in charge of the institute, where he says how “a menstruating woman who cooks food for her husband will certainly be reborn as kutri(bitch)”. Misogyny and superstition combined with deep-rooted taboos surrounding women’s menstrual cycle only discourages girls from going to school. Dasji also added that people who eat food cooked by menstruating women would be born as oxen!
Whisper couldn’t have chosen a better time to make its whisper louder and clearer.