The campaign in the #KeepGirlsInSchool initiative, featuring Bhumi Pednekar aims at depicting how lack of period education makes girls miss school days thereby reflecting on their future.
Whisper launched its new film titled ‘The Missing Chapter’ as part of its #KeepGirlsInSchool movement. The campaign is primarily designed to illustrate how a girl’s lack of period education contributes to her missing school days, a situation exacerbated by the glaring absence of period education in Indian textbooks.
For many girls, their first period is a surprise. In India, period taboos persist even today and have a negative impact on young girls. The film emphasizes how the stigma and lack of proper access to education on menstruation, results in girls missing significant number of school days, and in most cases ultimately dropping out of school completely. This heartfelt, yet educational film reiterates Whisper®️’s mission to bring period education to schools.
Despite the pandemic affecting people from all walks of life, it had a disproportionate impact on girls and women, making it even more challenging for social order to be achieved. In fact, school closures have impacted the futures of so many young girls in India as periods didn’t stop for the pandemic. There are studies that indicate that even today, 2.3 crore girls drop out of school when their periods begin, and 71% of adolescent girls in India are not aware that menstruation occurs until they begin their period. The pandemic has gone on to add another 1 crore girls staring at a loss of education due to lack of period education and menstrual hygiene.
Whisper is also working towards raising awareness in the grassroots with 25 impactful wall paintings across India to bring out the message of the Missing Chapter. These paintings utilize regional art forms like Madhubani, Bhil. Bhosli etc. to drive awareness for period education. Additionally, across the month of March, Whisper® adding 11,000 limited edition covers to its range of product packs. These covers, featuring brand ambassador Bhumi Pednekar, can be passed on to young girls to help them understand the importance of menstrual hygiene and how to use a pad.
Talking about the movement, Akhil Meshram, Senior Director, Category Leader, Whisper, Indian Subcontinent at Procter & Gamble, said, “At Whisper, we have been committed towards increasing awareness around menstrual hygiene management and period education for the past 25 years. The ‘Keep Girls in School’ (KGIS) movement, launched two years ago, has taken this commitment forward to also address how young girls and their families don’t need to look at periods as taboo. This year, by scaling up KGIS 3.0, we seek to ensure that 100% of all adolescent girls in the country are educated on menstrual hygiene so that no girl is forced to drop out of school due to her period.”
Speaking about the campaign Rajdeepak Das, CEO & Chief Strategy Officer – South Asia, Leo Burnett, said, “This year Project Missing Chapter addresses an important aspect of why 1 in 5 girls drop out of school – no menstrual education. A simple chapter on menstrual hygiene can make a huge impact for these girls. Our film narrates how three girls, armed with a symbolic red paper are spreading information and awareness on menstrual hygiene. Whisper® is the perfect example of a HumanKind brand, and we are very proud to be working with them on this mission.”
Akhil further added, “By asking for the mandatory inclusion of period education in the school curriculum, ‘The Missing Chapter’ aims to make a real impact on the ground. Together, we can shift the perception of periods from being shameful to one of strength and pride. Whisper® is proud to be at the forefront of this change.”