MUMBAI, INDIA — Whisper, India’s leading feminine care brand, launched its new film titled ‘The Missing Chapter’ as part of its #KeepGirlsInSchool movement. Aimed at addressing the brand’s commitment to its flagship program #KeepGirlsInSchool, the campaign film by Whisper®️ is primarily designed to illustrate how a girl’s lack of period education contributes to her missing school days, a situation exacerbated by the glaring absence of period education in Indian textbooks.
The campaign film, set in an all-girls school, shows young girls passing around a mysterious slip of red paper, that appears to satiate their curiosity in some manner. After the paper is passed around in classrooms, corridors and bathrooms, it eventually makes the rounds at a school assembly as well. During the assembly, one of the girls is caught with the paper in her possession and is demanded to step forward and declare its contents. At this point, it’s revealed to the audience that the paper actually contains information pertaining to periods. In this manner, the audience realizes that this seemingly childish game of ‘Passing the Parcel’ has far-reaching implications, vis-a-vis the girls educating themselves about menstrual health due to a glaring absence of actual education materials relating to the same. Hence the title- ‘The Missing Chapter.’
For many girls, their first period is a surprise. In India, period taboos persist even today and have a negative impact on young girls. The film emphasizes how the stigma and lack of proper access to education on menstruation, results in girls missing significant number of school days, and in most cases ultimately dropping out of school completely. This heartfelt, yet educational film reiterates Whisper®️’s mission to bring period education to schools.
Despite the pandemic affecting people from all walks of life, it had a disproportionate impact on girls and women, making it even more challenging for social order to be achieved. In fact, school closures have impacted the futures of so many young girls in India as periods didn’t stop for the pandemic. There are studies that indicate that even today, 2.3 crore girls drop out of school when their periods begin, and 71% of adolescent girls in India are not aware that menstruation occurs until they begin their period. The pandemic has gone on to add another 1 crore girls staring at a loss of education due to lack of period education and menstrual hygiene.
In its holistic approach towards raising awareness about period education, Whisper® is also working towards raising awareness in the grassroots with 25 impactful wall paintings across India to bring out the message of the Missing Chapter. These paintings utilize regional art forms like Madhubani, Bhil. Bhosli etc. to drive awareness for period education.
Additionally, across the month of March, Whisper® adding 11,000 limited edition covers to its range of product packs. These covers, featuring brand ambassador Bhumi Pednekar, can be passed on to young girls to help them understand the importance of menstrual hygiene and how to use a pad.
Talking about the movement, Akhil Meshram, Senior Director, Category Leader, Whisper®, Indian Subcontinent at Procter & Gamble, said, “At Whisper®, we have been committed towards increasing awareness around menstrual hygiene management and period education for the past 25 years. The ‘Keep Girls in School’ (KGIS) movement, launched two years ago, has taken this commitment forward to also address how young girls and their families don’t need to look at periods as taboo. This year, by scaling up KGIS 3.0, we seek to ensure that 100% of all adolescent girls in the country are educated on menstrual hygiene so that no girl is forced to drop out of school due to her period.”
Continuing to share her support for the movement, Bhumi Pednekar commented, “It has been a pleasure to work closely with Whisper®’s #KeepgirlsInSchool movement to drive awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene education for young girls across India. The pandemic has prevented many young girls from gaining awareness and accessing menstrual education resources, which could have helped them understand what their bodies are going through. I am glad that in its third year, #KeepgirlsinSchool is addressing this imbalance in their educational experience, and I hope together we can help young girls across the nation understand their bodies and their menstrual health braising awareness about the Missing Chapter.”
Speaking about the campaign, Rajdeepak Das, CEO & Chief Strategy Officer – South Asia, Leo Burnett, said, “This year Project Missing Chapter addresses an important aspect of why 1 in 5 girls drop out of school – no menstrual education. A simple chapter on menstrual hygiene can make a huge impact for these girls. Our film narrates how three girls, armed with a symbolic red paper are spreading information and awareness on menstrual hygiene. Whisper® is the perfect example of a HumanKind brand, and we are very proud to be working with them on this mission.”
Akhil further added, “By asking for the mandatory inclusion of period education in the school curriculum, ‘The Missing Chapter’ aims to make a real impact on the ground. Together, we can shift the perception of periods from being shameful to one of strength and pride. Whisper® is proud to be at the forefront of this change.”
Period poverty is a serious problem in India. Women around the world experience menstruation, and yet it is often accompanied by complications. In India, the stigma and shame associated with menstruation prevent millions of its citizens from leading free, fulfilling, mentally and physically healthy lives. To get rid of this taboo around menstrual health, Whisper® stands strong as a force for female good to improve the lives of young girls and achieve 100% menstrual hygiene adoption in India.
Agency: Leo Burnett India
CEO & Chief Creative Officer – South Asia, Leo Burnett: Rajdeepak Das
CEO & Chief Strategy Officer – South Asia, Leo Burnett: Dheeraj Sinha
National Creative Director: Sachin Kamble
Executive Creative Director: Sonal Chhajerh
Executive Vice President: Niket Kumar
Associate Executive Creative Director: Gaurav Kumar
Creative Director: Indrajeet Kadam
Copywriter: Kaizeen Vankadia
Sr. Art Director: Rituja Ghadge
Brand Services Partner: Andrea D’Souza
Brand Services Associate: Purvi Bakliwal
Associate Vice President (Strategy): Noor Samra
Brand Strategy Director: Anjali Kamath
Head of films department: Jignesh Maru
Executive Producer: Anil Sonawane