BENGALURU: Nearly 300 men and women will don red stoles and ride through the city on bikes to raise awareness against isolation of women and girls during menstruation. The 40-km bullet bike rally will take place on May 26, ahead of the upcoming World Menstruation Day on May 28.
The event is called ‘Men Take Lead Ride 2019’ on a symbolic note, according to Urmila Chanam, the founder and CEO of the NGO, Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation, which is organising the event along with members of India Bull Riders, a club of Bullet bike riders.
“The idea is to build leadership among men to intervene in social causes that are about women, instead of being mute spectators. In a patriarchal society like India, men hold the reins when it comes to finances at homes, workplaces, city governance and other spheres. Involving them is a must to address issues concerning menstrual hygiene management,” said Chanam, recalling the recent case wherein a 14-year-old girl died during the Gaja cyclone in Tamil Nadu as she was forced to sleep in an isolated hut during her periods. She also cited another case involving a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide after being humiliated by her teacher for having a period stain on her uniform.
The major aspects to address menstrual hygiene include water, toilets, sanitary material and disposal mechanism, Chanam added. The ride will end with a pledge for participants to intervene upon seeing a woman being isolated. “We are not overly optimistic about change but the idea is to intervene and give information about how the practice is wrong, irrespective of one’s gender. This ride is a call to encourage other men to join the cause,” she said.
The ride first took place in 2017 but could not be held during 2018 due to lack of funds. This time too, the organisation is still seeking funds for banners, bikers’ goods and other material. The event is open to non-riders as well, and the NGO is expecting 200 more people to join in. The event will start at 8am and the bikes will go through Townhall, Mehkri Circle, ISKCON temple, PES College, Devegowda Petrol Bunk, JP Nagar, Silk Board and BDA Complex in HSR layout.