Why it’s hard to ban the menstrual shed

 

Photo credit Sajana Shrestha for NPR

Every year in Nepal, women die while sleeping in a shed outside their home because they are on their period. The cause of death is often smoke inhalation from lighting a fire to stay warm.

The practice, called chaupadi, is linked to Hindu beliefs around religious purity and the idea that menstruation is spiritually polluting. In much of the country, this means that a woman who is menstruating will avoid temples, prayer rooms and kitchens — places important to keep pure in the Hindu religion.

In parts of the remote west, an extreme version means nights sleeping outside in a hut or shed.

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