How a woman in Bihar started discussions on 'taboo' contraception
For many in urban India, contraception and sexual health are regular topics. But the scene is drastically different elsewhere. In such places, contraception is considered to be the woman's responsibility. Stats show the reality: female sterilization accounts for a whopping 75.31% of all contraceptive use. The second, condoms, are at 11.72%. At such a time, Nirma Devi in Bihar's Gaya started her own revolution.
When 29-year-old Nirma of Barachatti village boldly says "Yes, I use contraception," that by itself is a sensational statement. When she got married 11 years ago, discussing the topic, even with her husband, was considered taboo. "When I asked my husband to buy me contraceptive pills, he blatantly refused. He asked: how can I? What will other men say?" Nirma relived her struggles.
Nirma, a mother of two, didn't want any more kids. What motivated her to speak up was the show 'Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hu'. The program has been hailed for addressing taboo subjects like sexual health. Then there was Poonam, a healthcare worker, the first woman who spoke to her about contraception. After much persuasion, Nirma's husband took her to a local hospital.
Now Nirma regularly uses temporary contraception. "During my period, I use the red pills and otherwise the black ones." Not only that. She formed a group of 20 women who visit nearby villages and encourages others to use contraceptives. The collective has till now convinced around 200 women. Nirma believes educating children will help open up a conversation on such topics.