Chhaupadi, a Hindu custom linked to menstruating women, criminalized in Nepal
During Chhaupadi, women 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.
Nepal’s Parliament on 9 August 2017 unanimously passed a law that criminalises an ancient practice called Chhaupadi that banishes women from home during mensuration and after childbirth.
The new law stipulates a three-month jail sentence or a 3000 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.
The new law reads, “A woman during her menstruation or post-natal state should not kept in chhaupadi or treated with any kind of similar discrimination or untouchable and inhumane behaviour.”
Chhaupadi is a custom linked to Hinduism in Nepal under which women are considered untouchable when they menstruate, as well as after childbirth. Under the tradition, many communities of the country view menstruating women as impure and in some remote areas, they are forced to sleep in a hut away from home during their periods. These basic huts are known as Chhau Goth.
During this period, they, the menstruating women, are also barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men.
In 2005, Chhaupadi was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal, but the tradition has been slow to change and is followed in parts of Nepal, particularly in remote western districts.