gender bias

Please provide sanitary napkins for detained protesters: An open letter to Delhi police

Angellica Aribam, the national secretary of the National Students' Union of India, asks the Delhi police commissioner to be sensitive to the needs of women in its custody.

Respected Sir,

I write to you on behalf of the rapidly growing population of women protesters on the streets of Delhi. I don’t know whether this issue has been raised before and the authorities decided to turn a blind eye or I’m bringing it to your attention for the very first time. But leaving all that aside, let me try and explain why I am writing to you today.

As enlightened citizens many people take to the streets to demonstrate their dissent and disapproval against anything they believe isn't right, and in that many people there is a small but ever increasing tribe of females. I and a bunch of my friends proudly belong to this tribe. And no, I’m not writing to you to complain about the violent hustling and shoving carried out by the respectable lady cops. We have gotten used to it and have, by now, realised that they are just doing their duty. Even when we are kept in police custody for long hours, we have no qualms.

But there are a few things concerning female health that affects us and we need you to step in.
Firstly, there has to be sanitary napkins in police stations especially when females are detained. Our bodies are extremely unpredictable and we don’t know for sure when our periods might start. I was once in Mandir Marg Police Station custody and all of a sudden my "time of the month" hit me. I asked the friendly lady at the station for a pad, she glared at me as though I committed a sin by uttering the word "period" loudly and then told me no such thing is available. After much pleading, she said she could give me her used handkerchief. Whatever happened to hygiene!

Not an uncommon experience

I shall never forget those eight traumatic hours. My friends have had similar experiences in other stations. Even otherwise, when periods are ongoing it is advised that pads should be changed every six hours or it might lead to infection. Hence, sanitary pads become all the more crucial when you keep us in custody for more than six hours.

Secondly, kindly direct all stations to keep the ladies’ washrooms clean. Wherever we have been detained be it Parliament Street or Mandir Marg, the condition those washrooms are in never fails to make me squirmish. Sometimes, even water is scarce. Maybe it isn’t everyday that women do end up in custody compared to men but that doesn’t mean the department could get all sexist and decide not to give us basic facilities just because we are rare and few in number.

Thirdly and most importantly, please sensitize your rank and file (both men and women) that menstruation is normal and not to look scandalised when anyone asks for a basic necessity. It is a biological process; nothing that we should be embarrassed of. It is not my fault that I get periods. I didn't choose it. It didn’t happen to me because of my sins nor is it some venereal disease I should be ashamed of. It is quite natural and I hope your officers come to terms with this natural process.

Thank you. And looking forward to a hygienic detention in the future.

Angellica Aribam

National Secretary,
National Students' Union of India

Support our journalism by paying for Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.