India

Expert Voices

Women are challenging menstruation taboos in India and Nepal

Women take oath as they gather to participate in the 620 km-long 'Women's Wall' against communalism and gender discrimination
Women gather to participate in the 385-mile-long "Women's Wall" against gender discrimination, in Kerala, India, on Jan. 1, 2019. Photo: Vivek R Nair/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

On Thursday, a woman and her children were found dead after being sequestered in a menstruation hut in Nepal. The death came on the heels of a protest on Jan. 1 in India, where thousands of women created a human wall that stretched 385 miles from the north of Kerala state to its capital in support of equal rights and against gender discrimination.

The big picture: Notions of ritual purity are at the heart of Hindu practices that ban women from entering kitchens or temples when they are menstruating. Public health professionals and women’s rights advocates have campaigned against ostracizing women for a long time, but the events in both Nepal and India have brought the discussion into mainstream media again.

One-fourth of the planet goes to the polls

Illustration of a globe
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 

The leadership of roughly a quarter of the world will be decided as three of the seven largest countries by population — Nigeria, Indonesia and India — will hold general elections in the next four months. They follow Bangladesh, the eighth largest, which went to the polls last Sunday.

Why it matters: It's a big moment for global democracy.

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