Nepal criminalises isolation of menstruating women

Nepal’s Parliament has voted unanimously to criminalise the practice of chhaupadi, which entails banishment of menstruating women, including after childbirth, from their homes. Practicing this custom will now invite a prison sentence of three months, or a fine of NPR 3,000.

Rooted in the belief that menstruating women are unclean, the custom of chhaupadi affects not only the physical mobility of menstruating women, but also their right to choice in food, thus increasing their susceptibility to various diseases including diarrhoea, pneumonia and respiratory diseases. Banishing new mothers and infants also leads to higher rates of maternal and child deaths.