All That You Must Know About A Menstrual Cycle

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The comprehensive guide on Menstrual Cycle

 

As much as you dread your “time of the month”, periods are equally scary when they don’t show up. So embrace them, own them and wear your period like a trademark of being a woman. 

Even with countless “sex education” seminars in schools and colleges, there are still so many unanswered questions that need to be attended to. Females grow up with periods and aren’t even fully aware of the things that happen in their own bodies. The lack of knowledge leads to a rise in doubts. Doubts convert to fears. And guess what? These very fears revert back to hormonal changes that (drumroll) messes with their period! 

This article aims to cover all those unanswered questions about having your period in a concise “all you need to know about a menstrual cycle”. 

Menstrual Cycle and ‘The period’ - Explained

Even though it might sound correct to use the words ‘period’ and ‘menstrual cycle’ as synonyms to one another in conversations, they don't actually mean the same. 

While ‘a period’ is that part of a menstrual cycle when a female bleeds from her vagina for 2-7 days (on an average), a menstrual cycle is the time from day one of a female’s period to the day before her next. Depending on hormones, a new menstrual cycle begins every 28 days although some women’s cycles could last anywhere between 21 and 40 days. 

It is important to note that girls are taught these as ‘facts’ in biology textbooks at very young ages and panic when their periods don’t live up to such accuracy. Reality: For the first few years of a young female starting her period, it is very normal for her period to come irregularly and stabilize in a couple of years. 

What actually happens in the female body during a menstrual cycle?

First things first. At the start of a menstrual cycle, ovulation takes place, when the levels of a hormone called estrogen starts to rise and signals for an egg to be released from a female’s ovaries. You get your period after the ovulation. 

During the process of estrogen rising, progesterone (another hormone) also rises and signals the wall of the uterus AKA ‘the womb’ to thicken. This is like signaling the uterus to be prepared to receive a fertilised egg. The egg travels from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and right into the (now ready) uterus. 

Under normal circumstances, two things can happen here on. One, is that the egg gets fertilised by a sperm which in turn, leads to a pregnancy. In case the egg doesn’t get fertilised by a sperm (within approximately 24 hours) then the egg gets reabsorbed by the body and everything else reverses. Levels of estrogen and progesterone fall back, the womb lining breaks and leaves the body through the female’s vagina - hence ‘the period’

Periods are usually heavier on the first 2 or 3 days, during which the colour of the blood is red. As it lightens, the blood may become pink, brown or even black. (again, totally normal) 

Periods usually last between two to eight days. The average age for a female to start her period is 11 years old, but of course, some start earlier and some later than this too. 

Menstrual Cycle- Signs and Symptoms of Periods and PMS 

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the very purpose of menstruation, let's get into the visible changes that occur in your body before and during your period. 

If it were just the lining of your uterus flowing out as blood through your vagina, it would probably not affect your body and mental health as much. Maybe just an occurrence of physical changes in your body and that’s about it. But since this sadly isn’t the case, and changes much larger such as rising hormones (estrogen and progesterone) take place a couple of days before your period starts, females do experience symptoms - both physical and mental. 

There are close to a hundred known symptoms attributed to menstruation and these might differ with each cycle and gradually even change over a period of time. Some women experience close to no symptoms, while some sadly experience too many and all at once. 

Symptoms of Menstruation

The most common symptoms of a period include: 

  • Tender breasts
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Acne
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bloating/Fluid retention
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Lower back pain
  • Low energy/fatigue 
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight gain

 


PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome) 

Since most hormonal changes in your body occur even before the egg enters the uterus, it is natural that changes start to take place in your body before you start to bleed i.e, before you get your periods. Most women get at least some signs of the arrival of their period (tender breasts and food cravings), but some suffer from rather severe symptoms or Premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms are similar to those of a period with added emotional and behavioural signs such as anxiety, depression, anger outbursts, mood swings, forgetfulness, loss of focus and feelings of overwhelm. 

Given an option to unsubscribe from this monthly catastrophe that pops up like a calendar event - a lot of girls would cheerfully opt out. But that’s not how the female body works, is it? So it’s best to be prepared for something that you’re going to witness month on month. 

Dealing with Periods and PMS Symptoms like a bawse

There are a lot of known ways to manage your periods and reduce the pain and mental stress that come with it. Some of them that seem to work for most women, (and what you can do too) are as follows: 

  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes. Fun Fact: women who are sedentary and do not get regular exercise typically have heavier and more painful periods.
  2. Eat healthy meals consisting of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Contradictory to popular beliefs of ‘giving in to your cravings’ and ‘pampering your taste buds’ during your period, eating a balanced diet helps with more than just fixing your mood at this time of the month. 
  3. Hot showers and hot water bags do wonders to calm those abdominal cramps, even if it's just for a little while. 
  4. Try tea therapy - Chamomile to relax your mind and peppermint to help with period bloating. 
  5. Avoid alcohol, smoking and salt. 
  6. Although this should be your last option (if all else fails), try over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen and be sure to follow the dosage instructions as mentioned on the label.
  7. Lastly, get enough sleep. A lack of restful sleep reduces your pain threshold and this is not what you want when you already have cramps attacking you in the middle of the day. 

For more such interesting period hacks you can check out this article.

How do you know when there’s a possibility of a problem: 

Normally, all the discomforts associated with getting your period should be manageable enough that you’re able to carry on with normal day-to-day activities. However, some females experience severe symptoms that make it difficult for them to carry out even the most basic tasks. 

Even though most of these symptoms might seem normal, it’s better to consult a GP in case things seem to go out of hand:

Painful periods

Although mild pain caused by periods is normal, the kind that gets in the way of your daily life should be consulted with a GP. Period pain can be relieved with the help of exercise, taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If it’s the kind of pain that is intolerable, it might be a cause of concern (dysmenorrhea) and should be looked into. 

Heavy periods

Some women naturally have heavier periods than others, but for periods so heavy that they impact daily life, a GP should be consulted to investigate further into the abnormally heavy bleeding.

Irregular periods 

Irregular periods can be common during puberty or before menopause and can consist of a variation between time of periods (arriving early or late), the amount of blood lost (heavy/light), and the number of days a period lasts.

Stress too, acts as a factor that messes up your period cycle. A lot of women have been experiencing this now more than ever given the current COVID-19 situations and the nation-wide lockdown. If you’ve been experiencing the same, you can read more about how this pandemic might be taking a negative toll on your monthly cycle here. How the pandemic is affecting your menstrual cycle

Most of the time, irregular periods are nothing to worry about, but it’s best to get yourself checked nonetheless. 

Endometriosis

This is a very painful condition that occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Not all women who have endometriosis have serious symptoms but it could impact heavily on some females’ lives by causing painful periods, pelvic pain, pain while passing urine/excretion, nausea or depression. Although there is no cure to endometriosis currently, treatments are available to manage symptoms.

Problems that seem normal (but might not actually be) 

Sudden changes like periods lasting longer or getting lighter, bleeding between periods, bleeding after having sex, or bleeding after the menopause NEED to be consulted by a doctor. There might not be anything wrong, but it should be investigated to rule out an infection, abnormality or in rare cases, cancer. 

The Menstrual Hygiene War: settled once and for all 

Menstrual Hygiene

Sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups - which of the three is the better option for you? Although no single answer could be true for every situation, weighing the pros and cons of all these menstrual hygiene products can sure help you pick what personally suits you best. 

Sanitary pads

The oldest of the three, sanitary napkins have evolved so much in the past years to become slimmer, get wings and turn liquid to gel to help you have an easy, stain-free period. Although they have a variety of pros such as no painful insertions (or any insertion at all), no risks of Toxic shock syndrome and no stains - because they happen to be the most absorbent of the three - pads have their own usage restrictions. 

For one, you can't wear a thong, so bye-bye favorite party skirts. Swimming too, is really uncomfortable with a pad on. But besides this, sanitary pads are a cause of concern for many other reasons: 

  • Pads contain bleach that could increase the risk of cancer
  • If not changed regularly, you’re at risk of developing an infection
  • If you happen to be active, the constant chafing between your legs can give you a rash
  • Pads take about 500 years to fully decompose(!) so they’re basically horror stories for the environment 

Tampons

Females who would rather suffer the initial discomfort on insertion if it means not having to feel a diaper stuck to them for 5 straight days, usually opt for tampons. 

Again, tampons too have their pros and cons. It allows you to wear what you feel like (you can literally grab the most body-hugging dress in your closet with nothing to worry about), keeps the blood from getting outside your vagina, and is so discrete to carry around. 

But just like pads, tampons come with a bundle of problems associated with their usage: 

  • Because tampons have the ability to soak up your vagina’s natural lubrication, there’s a risk that they may lead to TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Tampons, much like pads, contain bleach that could lead to cancer
  • Inserting discomfort, or general discomfort associated with first-timers is an unavoidable problem (especially with societal stigmas like ‘loss of virginity’ stuck to them) 

Menstrual Cups

Beating the cons of both pads and tampons, more and more women are moving toward using menstrual cups in an attempt to go eco-friendly. 

There’s no risk of TSS, it's a hundred percent chemical-free and requires very few changes. Menstrual cups are non-messy and don’t pose a threat to the environment like pads and tampons do, so they’re clearly in the win here. 

If you are a new owner of Menstrual cup and are not sure how to use it, watch a few instructional videos on youtube, and you’ll be good to go.

We vouch by OrganiCup’s in-depth instructional video  How to use a menstrual cup

Our favorite Youtuber Dolly Singh’s real take on Menstrual cups, in case you don’t want to do it the normal way: Dolly Singh's views on the menstrual cup

The only con of using a menstrual cup (besides the fact that some women might resist insertion) is that the cleaning of one is a little cumbersome considering it has to be sterilized after every change to avoid any chance of infection.

Now that you know the pros and cons of each of these menstrual hygiene products, making a choice is relatively easy. Although menstrual cups seem like they should be the winner, it's not a widely accepted product yet. People are still trying to find their ways to get comfortable with inserting something that is literally called a ‘cup’ into their vaginas and this switch is going to take time. Besides, if you’re already suffering from an infection, insertion of a tampon or a menstrual cup - not a great idea. In such situations, a pad is an ideal option. 

Whatever you choose, place your comfort before any other factor. After all, there’s enough discomfort caused by your periods itself, so the products you use must be ones that make your period more bearable. 

More on menstrual hygiene 

FAQs on Menstrual Cycle

1. When do periods stop?

The menopause is when a woman stops to have periods and naturally becomes unable to get pregnant. Until this period of menopause, periods continue. (Bummer, right?) 

The average age of menopause is 51, however, some women can reach menopause earlier or later than this (as early as 30s or as late as their 60s). Periods may become less frequent over a few months or years or may stop suddenly. 1 in 100 women experience premature menopause and will reach menopause before the age of 40.

Not all women experience menopause in the same way but many common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood and anxiety, reduced sex drive and problems with memory and concentration.

A GP can offer treatment and suggest lifestyle changes for severe menopausal symptoms that affect day-to-day life.

2. What are the reasons for a missed period? 

However, some women will not have periods for many complex and diverse reasons. Just a few examples may be because of medical issues, some may undergo early menopause (when a woman stops having periods and becomes unable to get pregnant naturally), some may have had a hysterectomy (when the uterus is removed for medical reasons), some may be transgender, or some through complications because of eating disorders.

Stopped or missed periods: Some common reasons for why a woman may miss her monthly period include pregnancy, stress, sudden weight loss or gain, extreme over-exercising, an eating disorder, hormonal problems, pregnancy, breastfeeding and reaching the menopause, though there may be many more reasons also. Speak to a GP about stopped or missed periods.

3. Can I get pregnant if I have sex during periods?

It’s highly unlikely that you could get pregnant if you had sex during your period. Although, there's a small chance that the sperm survives in your body for 5 days. So it’s safe to say that it’s risky business to have unprotected sex towards the end of your period since you might be ovulating a couple of days after the end of your monthly cycle.

4. What are the benefits and drawbacks of period sex?

Unless it causes you discomfort or pain, there’s no reason to avoid having sex during your period. It's safe for both partners, although it can sometimes get messy. It is important to understand that while it is fine to have sex during your period,  you would still need to use protection. You’re more vulnerable to STDs, and pregnancy is still on the list of possibilities. Respect your body and stay safe with your partner.

Pros of having sex on your period:

Reduced Menstrual Cramps: A natural way to get rid of that period pain as opposed to painkillers is having an orgasm. When you orgasm, the muscles of your uterus contract. Then they release. This brings relief from period cramps. Orgasms can also release endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. Boy, did you ever think sex was the answer to all your problems? Well, it is. 

Natural Lubrication. When you have period sex, blood acts as a natural lubricant and is one of the biggest perks of having sex while on period. 

Shorter periods: Having sex during your period can shorten its duration. (It’s true!)  The contracting of your uterus during an orgasm could speed up the shedding period of your uterus lining.

More pleasurable sex: You’ve probably already noticed a change in your libido around this time of the month, so you might as well put it to good use!

Cons of having sex on your period:

Things can get (pretty) ugly: When you have sex while on your period, things could get messy real quick. There’s a chance that blood could get on you, on your partner, and the sheets. There’s also the fact that period blood can emit an unpleasant smell. So if you’re the kind of person who’s going to be living in constant worry of this ugliness, you’re probably not going to enjoy sex as much. 

Possible risk of an STI: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having sex on your period could increase your risk of getting or transmitting an STI, such as HIV. The virus may be present in your period blood. For this very reason, doctors strongly recommend that you use a condom to decrease the risk.

5. Will my hymen break if I use a tampon? 

Tampons work just as fine for girls who are virgins as they do for girls who have had sex. And although using a tampon could occasionally cause your hymen to stretch/tear, it doesn’t cause you to lose your virginity because only having sex could do that.

6. Is clotting during periods normal? 

Women often worry when they see clots in their menstrual blood, but it’s perfectly normal and very rarely a cause for concern. These blood clots are nothing but a mix of blood cells, tissue from the lining of the womb and protein in the blood that helps regulate flow.

7. What is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects how a female’s ovaries work. The three prominent symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods, excess facial/body hair due to high levels of testosterone or ‘male hormones’, and polycystic ovaries where the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles). There is no cure for PCOS, although symptoms can be treated.

8. What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden, potentially fatal condition caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of bacteria called staph, which is found in many female bodies. Toxic shock syndrome primarily affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons. 

While instructions on a tampon box encourage women to change their tampon at least every 8 hours, sometimes people forget to change them or occasionally even tend to lose them. Leaving a tampon in for longer than 8-12 hours increases the risk of infection or possible TSS. 

With this, it’s also important to note that the availability of free information on the internet today does not necessarily give it a credibility stamp. A lot of it circulating might be false and misleading. Some of the facts put out on content websites are a result of age old myths that have existed but are utterly absurd!  Some of these myths have passed on for generations and people just happen to blindly believe them. You can read all about these popular myths that are believed to be true even today on PMS myths  & Period Myths

Be sure to look for information (especially) relating to women's health and menstruation only on credible sources to avoid ridiculous rumours that are only here to hoodwink you. 

 

 

 

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FOITO- Transforming lives with the right career path

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World's first Free Skill Report that can help you avail FREELANCE PROJECTS.

I recently came across a book called ‘Ikigai’- The Japanese secret of a long and happy life. And the secret to a long and happy life is to find a career which gives you a purpose to wake up to every day. 

As a child, whenever I was asked “what do you want to become”? the answers changed every 6 months. So I had a plethora of choices starting from a doctor, to astronaut, a comedian, a robotics expert, and whatnot.

But then little did I realize that what we dream of and what we end up doing can be stark opposites. As we step into higher education we get into peer pressure or family pressure and eventually choose a career which is “Trending in India” and finally fall into a spiral of gloom and despair when we realize halfway through that we do not like our career path.

Owing to the immense competition, we are very still stuck in a maze where it is almost difficult to get to know ourselves. But it is important to note that embarking on a path to the right career without a thorough analysis of your own self is a horrible mistake and, as a consequence, all of us may eventually be left in a state of absolute misery!

Therefore, before planning out our future job opportunities, our main focus would be to better understand ourselves. It means developing our latent talents, finding things that really attract us, searching for experiences that give us an adrenaline rush, recognizing work that doesn't make us feel drained and helps us to reach our highest potential.

This seems quite daunting for us being in a country where only rhetoric learning is given utmost importance and there is less scope for developing skills that match our passion.

Still, wondering how to go about it?

This is where FOITO comes to the rescue.

FOITO was incorporated in November 2018. They have covered a journey of 1.5 years and have already completed more than 30 + training projects and over 80 skills assessments. Having a network of 20 + trainers across India, they have been able to deliver effectively to all their clients

A brief introduction about the founders:

shabar syed

Mr. Shabar Syed (Co-Founder)

Enthusiast, ambitious and imaginative, his diverse professional experience, his passion for teaching and his versatility in strategic analysis help him deliver enriching interaction-based learning sessions.

Manohar Reddy

Manohar Reddy (Co-Founder)

Humble, technically strong, he knows the best way to manage the most complicated situations. His unique actions and imaginative concepts, together with his first-hand experience of working for a leading retail store, helps him add practical scenarios to the workshops.

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Swagata Ganguly (Co-Director)

Bcom Hons graduated from Delhi University, now pursuing an MBA at IIM Lucknow, was part of FOITO 's journey as an intern and is now looking to manage the venture forward as a director.

The USPs of FOITO are as follows:

Their Skill Evaluation Module is an emotional intelligence-based skill evaluation that seeks to help people determine their best career choices based on three-point requirements. They also recommend the necessary preparation programs on the basis of the qualifications needed for the career paths thereby obtained.

The best part is whether we are at the beginning of our career or in mid-level jobs they can help us steer in the right direction based on our educational qualifications. Or if we want to venture into entrepreneurship they give all the necessary training by Industry Experts customized according to our needs.

So, FOITO provides a fascinating opportunity for those who want to explore their latent talents and are able to find some promising career opportunities where they'll be successful. Join our Webinar to find all the answers to your career questions

As the saying goes “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." —Confucius




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21 Must-Know Laws for Indian Women

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Highlights

Women in our nation have reached great heights of success, yet most of them are still not aware of the most common laws for Indian women laid down by our government.This article attempts to help educate about the laws for Indian women.

Introduction

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Women in our nation have reached great heights of success, yet most of them are still not aware of the most common laws for Indian women laid down by our government. Whenever a wrong is done, often we let the matter slide because we don’t want to deal with police and courts. If each one of us knows our rights, instead of being terrified, we could actually fight the wrong. This article attempts to help educate about the laws for Indian women. The term Police itself is so misunderstood by us. POLICE stands for Public Officer for Legal Investigations and Criminal Emergencies.

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Ever partied too loud or too late for the police to come and intervene? Or have been in a situation where the traffic police have threatened to take you to the police station? Well, they can’t!

  • When women interact with a Police Officer- Women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. If arrested, they have to be presented before a Magistrate within 24 hours and should be kept in a prison separate from the male prisoners. The arrest and search of your body can be made only by a female officer. 
  • If any form of questioning is required with the Police: If the police officer wants to do any investigation or question you further about any complaint you may have filed, he needs to come to your home and do such questioning at your residence. The police officer cannot call you alone to the police station or any other place of his choice.  
  • When Woman endures sexual harassment or a sexual assault at the workplace: Each one of us has had that sneaky boss of ours eyeing us in a manner that made us uncomfortable. Or in an interview, a sexual favor was demanded in exchange for the job. Whether verbal or non-verbal, such action is not acceptable. All such complaints are to be filed within three months of the occurrence with the Internal Committee at your workplace. If there is no Internal Committee, you can file all such complaints with the Local Committee in the town where you work or reside. 
  • Women have a right to Equal Pay: There should be equal pay for men and women for the same work done by them in the same position. For example, Two team leads with equal experience, should receive the same salary irrespective of their gender. No gender discrimination can be made even during the hiring process. This has also been guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. 
  • When a woman works night shifts- There should be proper security measures taken by your employer if your job demands night shifts. This includes your travel to and from work.  No woman should be made to work alone in a night shift and has to be necessarily placed in a group.
  • Woman’s right to say No and Sexual Assault: When you are touched sexually without consent, or forced or coerced to establish any form of physical relationship, it is sexual assault. If any form of threat is made to you to get the consent, it is not consent. Stalking, eve-teasing, Voyeurism, acid attack, outraging a woman’s modesty, showing pornography etc. are all considered to be sexual assault and sexual violence.  
  • Woman’s Right to Privacy: The identity of a sexual assault victim is to be kept confidential under all circumstances. Your statement may be recorded by before a Magistrate without being overheard by anyone else. Even in the judgment, the judge refers to you as the ‘victim’. All the Bollywood movies where cross-examination is done in open court, it is only entertainment purposes. The reality is very different.
  • Medical Examination in the event of rape and sexual assault: A medical test to establish rape should be conducted within the first 72 hours of the incident. It is to be performed by a female doctor. The test establishes any sexual activity performed on the woman and helps to detect the rapist if any semen sample is found in the victim’s body. Rape is a crime and not a medical condition.
  • FIR in case of Sexual Assault: There is no time limit to report rape or sexual assault. A case may be filed in any police station that the victim wants to, in the presence of a female constable. This is known as the Zero FIR.  Section 375 and 376 of the IPC deal with rape. In certain cities like Delhi, a woman may report a sexual assault online or through a registered post letter to a senior police officer.
  • Woman’s Right to Free Legal Aid: When reporting a sexual assault, if you do not have a lawyer present, you may ask for legal aid and the police officer has to provide you with it. 
  • Right of Abortion: Abortion is the right of a woman. Hence, no parental or husband’s consent is required to abort.  Under normal conditions, until the 20th week, the woman can abort and if there is any risk to the life of a mother, abortion can be done until the 24th week. 
  • But without the woman’s consent, abortion is illegal and a punishable offense. During pregnancy,      under no circumstances can any test be performed to find out the gender of the baby. This is a            crime. 
  • Right against cyber crimes: With the advent of technology, it has become much easier for criminals to hide behind their digital screens and harass women. Cyber Stalking, Identity theft, Online Defamation, Morphing pictures, pornography, etc. are all crime. 
  • Cybercrime complaints may be filed online at https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ or in your nearest police station. You may file a complaint anonymously as well. 
  • Rights of a married woman: The Supreme Court in India has said that every married woman should be treated with dignity and respect. You are entitled to live in the same house as your husband and to be maintained by him. Any act of bigamy on the part of your husband is a punishable offense. 
  • Woman’s right Against Domestic Violence: If your husband or any other man in your house hits you, you can file a Domestic violence case. This may be filed with or without simultaneously asking for Divorce. 
  • Right to Property and Streedhan: All the gifts received by you before and after marriage ceremonies or during childbirth, is your personal property and no one can take it away from you, not even your husband. You have an equal right in your father’s property as well. Similarly, you also have a right in your husband’s property after his death. 
  • Woman’s right to give divorce: Divorce is always a second chance at happiness and everyone deserves to stay happy. If any cruelty is being meted out to you, you can ask for a divorce. Adultery, Bigamy, religious conversion, insanity, missing for over 7years, or non- consummate the marriage, are divorce grounds.
  • If your husband has committed rape, bestiality or sodomy; on any other person, it may be a ground for divorce provided you can prove it. Marital rape is considered in India only when the age of the wife is less than 18yrs. 
  • Note: It may be noted that the marital laws in our nation differ with respect to the caste and faith of a person.
  • Right to Maintenance and Alimony: In the event of judicial separation or divorce, a woman is entitled to maintenance from her husband for herself and her children, as long as she does not remarry. The amount depends on your lifestyle under Section 125 of CRPC and decided by a judge. Alimony is a one-time payment of maintenance. 

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  • Right to Child’s custody: Ideally for a child below the age of 5yrs, the mother is the natural guardian and the child should remain in the mother’s custody. A female minor child is usually placed in the mother’s custody always. 
  • A right to Maternity benefits: Becoming a mother is one of the best feelings in the world and it should not stand in the way of your success and career graph. Every expecting, adopting or surrogate mother has the right to maternity benefits. It may be claimed for up to 26weeks and post this, if the nature of the job permits, you can opt for work from home. During the period of maternity leave, you cannot be fired or demoted. Even if the mother dies during childbirth, your heir is entitled to the payment of any maternity benefit that is due. Even at instances of miscarriage, it is supposed to be paid. Some common queries were answered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment which may also be helpful- Maternity Benefit Laws
  • Woman’s right to Live-in relationship: Any sound woman above the age of 18yrs has the right to choose her partner whether to get married or be in a live-in relationship with. Live-in relationships are legally recognized by the law. And children of such couples also have legal rights against the father. 
  • Right against Dowry: Both giving and receiving dowry, whether in the name of gifts or anything else is strictly prohibited. If you are being tortured by your in-laws in the name of dowry, you may seek divorce and legally imprison your husband and his family.

National Commission For Women

The NCW is a government body in India that aims to voice the rights of women in our country. It has advocated and fought against archaic laws. It strives to ensure the safety of women, both inside and outside their houses. 

If anyone of you have any further questions regarding your rights, you may click the link below to seek help for all such matters: http://www.ncw.nic.in/helplines

The website also provides the space to ask your questions online as well. http://ncw.nic.in/

The National Women Helpline number is 181. 

My Personal Experience:

Being a lawyer, I have encountered many women who wanted to file for divorce or get an abortion or wanted to file a complaint in general for any atrocity meted out to them. But more often than not, they would not go through with it despite living horrendous lives. Their biggest fears involved only one question- What will the people think? Log kya kahengey! And how would they support themselves and their children after the incident? But all these fears are unnecessary as there are enough laws in our nation to protect the interest of women.

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Conclusion

India, the land of Durga, Kali and Saraswati, ironically is famous for being one of the most aggressively dominant patriarchal societies in the world. But since Independence, one step at a time, an attempt is made to bring change. The laws though abundant lacks awareness. 

Women have traveled a long way from being uneducated and married at the age of 10yrs to now becoming the CEO’s of some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Battles are being fought day in and day out in against patriarchy but most battles are yet to be won. 

Once the rights are identified, it shall become increasingly easy to get these rights implemented. One step at a time and we shall be in an equal state with the men in our society if not superior. This is where feminism begins. This article hopes to be a step in the direction of achieving that. 

 

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