The parliament of Nepal has criminalised an ancient Hindu practice called chhaupadi that banishes women from the home during menstruation and after childbirth.
"A woman during her menstruation or post-natal state should not be kept in chhaupadi or treated with any kind of similar discrimination or untouchable and inhuman behaviour," reads the law, passed in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.
The new law, which will come into effect in a year's time, stipulates a three-month jail sentence or a 3,000 rupee fine ($30), or both, for anyone forcing a woman to follow the custom.
Mohna Ansari, a member of national human rights commission who was part of the push for the new law, told Al Jazeera that the development was "a big achievement".
"The law gives an open space for women to come forward if they are forced to follow the practice. It is a custom that makes women feel isolated and puts psychological pressure," she said.
Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure, and in some remote areas, they are forced to sleep in a hut away from home called chhau goth during their periods and after childbirth.