Original “Pad Man” lauds Sajith’s stance on menstrual hygiene | Sunday Observer

Original “Pad Man” lauds Sajith’s stance on menstrual hygiene

Indian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Arunachalam Muruganantham yesterday issued a statement highlighting NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa’s staunch defence of his election promise to provide free sanitary napkins, or menstrual pads, to women and girls if elected president. “It’s a good change to see the leaders across the world finally understood the importance of menstrual hygiene and women’s health for the development of their respective countries,” Muruganantham said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

Premadasa made the promise last week, only to receive mockery from his opponents in the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), including being branded as “Pad Man”, a reference to a 2018 biopic based on the life of Muruganantham, who had dedicated himself to designing and developing a low-cost sanitary napkin for women and girls in India.

Responding to the criticism last week, Premadasa posted on Twitter that he “will not shy away” from his pledge or the conversation about women’s menstrual hygiene.

“If we are serious about women’s empowerment, this is a basic place to begin.” Responding to his being branded as “Pad Man”, Premadasa said he “would wear this label proudly.”

His pledge, and his public defence of it against vicious backlash from his opponents, won Premadasa substantial public support for being the first political candidate to address a women’s health issue deeply steeped in stigma. The public spat led to calls for the original “Pad Man” movie to be made available in Sri Lanka. Referring to Premadasa’s stance, original “Pad Man” Muruganantham said “it is high time the leaders of nations became the ambassadors for menstrual hygiene awareness.” One television station, ITN, had announced plans to air the “Pad Man” movie in view of the soaring public interest, but a complaint has been filed with the Elections Commission seeking to block the film from being aired by ITN on the grounds that it would unfairly promote the campaign of a presidential candidate.