WEA Women in Action
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Affiliations & Roles
Founder & CEO, Breaking the Silence
Urmila Chanam is a social worker focused on raising awareness on menstrual hygiene management directly to girls, boys, women and men through trainings and workshops with an objective to integrate menstrual hygiene management with existing government programs and outreach. Urmila is a global campaigner for women’s rights to health and dignity during menstruation and increasing access to sanitation products. She is the CEO and Founder of “Breaking the Silence,” a campaign that focuses on ending myths, taboos and stigmas around menstruation and building a supportive environment where girls and women can manage their menstruation in a hygienic manner and with dignity. Under this banner, they prioritize objectives of disseminating awareness and developing leadership at the village, district and national level, sharing best practices from around the world with respect to sanitary products, disposal mechanisms, sanitation and hygiene, and assessing WASH infrastructure and facilities. Furthermore, they hope to increase advocacy for menstrual hygiene in the government of India and the media positioning menstrual hygiene as an entry point to address gender inequality and sharing the current national dialogue on menstruation bringing policies, guidelines and call to action of different ministries in the government of India. Breaking the Silence has won several awards for reaching the remotest villages and communities often left behind and changing the narrative on menstruation. In addition to her activism in menstrual hygeine, she is a member of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.