Home International Nepal criminalises isolation of menstruating women

Nepal criminalises isolation of menstruating women


Nepal’s parliament today criminalised an ancient practice that banishes women from the home during menstruation. Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure and in some remote areas they are forced to sleep in a hut away from home during their periods, a custom known as chhaupadi.

The new law stipulates a three-month jail sentence or a 3,000 Nepali rupee fine or both, for anyone forcing a woman to follow the custom. The law was passed through unanimous voting. It will come into effect in a year’s time.

Chhaupadi is linked to Hinduism in the country and considers women untouchable when they menstruate, as well as after childbirth. They are banished from the home – barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men – and forced to sleep in basic huts known as Chhau Goth.

The Supreme Court had banned chhaupadi more than a decade ago but it is still followed in parts of Nepal, particularly in remote western districts.

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