How socio-demographic and mass media factors affect sanitary item usage among women in rural and urban India
Our study’s objective is to examine the various socio-demographic and mass media factors of sanitary item usage among rural and urban women in India. We have used data from the Indian version of the Demographic and Health Survey, conducted in 2015–16 for this study, with a sample of 247,833 women in the age group of 15 to 24 years. Binary logistics regression was performed separately for urban and rural women to understand the various determinants of sanitary item usage. We found that three-quarters of women in urban areas use sanitary items compared to half of the women in rural areas. Indian women in rural areas appear to be at a considerable disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts with regard to sanitary item usage. Factors determining sanitary item usage did not vary between urban and rural areas. However, education, wealth, mass media, and toilet facility were the major factors in understanding the improvement in sanitary item usage in urban and rural areas. At the policy level, there is need to focus on (a) disseminating knowledge about menstrual hygiene management (MHM) practices and provisioning of sanitary items; and (b) providing exposure to traditional media channels to potentially reduce the social stigma associated with these issues and bring critical conversations to the forefront, especially among the socio-economically disadvantaged groups.