Five years ago in India, two films brought attention to women’s health and hygiene. One was a small documentary about a man named Arunachalam Muruganantham, who created affordable sanitary pads. This film won an Academy Award.
The other movie was a big-budget Bollywood film, featuring a popular actor, and it was based on Muruganantham’s life. These films helped break the silence around periods.
The history of women’s hygiene has been a mix of strength and neglect. Over time and in different places, women have faced various hygiene problems that were not openly discussed.
These problems include challenges like having to go outdoors to use the bathroom, the shame associated with menstruation, and even the shyness in using the word “vagina” in products made for women. Here’s a simple explanation to help you understand the myths and issues related to menstruation.
Women’s health and hygiene are important topics, not something to joke about. For a long time, there have been wrong ideas and a lack of attention to women’s hygiene. This not only causes physical discomfort but also creates a culture where women feel ashamed and unable to talk openly about their needs.
In the 21st century, it’s essential to change this and find complete solutions that respect and prioritize women’s health and dignity. Finally, some Indian companies are addressing this need.
Brands like Sirona, Avni, The Women’s Company, Carmesi, and a few others from India are making a difference in the feminine hygiene market.
Their products focus on more than just hygiene; they aim to provide comfort, dignity, and empowerment to women. In doing so, they are bringing attention to women’s health, challenging societal norms, and breaking the silence around topics like menstruation and intimate hygiene.
Prioritising feminine hygiene
Focusing on women’s hygiene, there are two important areas: menstrual health and toilet hygiene. One brand, Sirona, has come up with creative solutions for both.
For toilet hygiene, they created something called PeeBuddy in 2014. This helps women urinate while standing. It might sound strange, but it’s really useful, especially in situations where finding a clean restroom is tough. Using PeeBuddy can prevent issues like Urinary Tract Infections, which can be painful.
The idea for PeeBuddy came from a real-life experience. The co-founder of Sirona, Deep Bajaj, was on a road trip with his wife and friends. They had a hard time finding clean restrooms along the way.
This is something that men don’t usually worry about. One of the women in their group mentioned a similar product from Europe that lets women urinate while standing.
This gave Bajaj the idea to introduce a similar product in India. The result was PeeBuddy, which has made life easier for around 3 million women.
After the success of PeeBuddy, Sirona also started offering a wide range of products for menstrual health. They have things like menstrual cups, tampons, and products to relieve period pain.
Other brands like Avni and The Women’s Company are also doing their part for the environment. They offer eco-friendly menstrual health solutions, like reusable pads and organic cloth panty liners. These options are gentle on the skin and better for the environment.
Let’s go back to 2015 when people hardly talked about things like sanitary pads, and very few even knew about menstrual cups. In India, many women didn’t have access to proper menstrual products during that time. Shockingly, only 7-12% of women were using sanitary products, even though about 30% of them needed them.
But Sirona didn’t just go along with the flow; they decided to do something different. They introduced tampons with applicators and then regular tampons. They also noticed that there was a demand for high-quality menstrual cups in India.
So, they started making these too. Today, more than two million Indian women have chosen to use their menstrual cups.
Sirona is doing well and is expected to make a lot of money this year, possibly reaching a revenue of 50 crores. They’ve been successful in providing better menstrual options for women in India.
When it comes to making sure feminine hygiene products are safe, it’s a long journey. People are starting to lose trust in big, well-known brands, and that’s where these new companies step in.
Read more on: How To Talk To Your Kids About War & Help Them Feel Safe
Sirona, for example, is really serious about safety. They put all their products through lots of tests until they find the perfect materials. They refined their product, PeeBuddy, more than a hundred times to make it just right. Their tampons are carefully made in a European facility that’s approved by the FDA, ensuring the highest quality.
Avni is also committed to making sure their products are safe. They test them in laboratories to make sure they’re good for the body and the environment. They look at things like how well they work, whether they’re safe for the body, and if they release any harmful substances into the environment.
These new companies are not just making safe products; they are also doing good for the underprivileged. Sirona has a foundation that supports underprivileged women. They run projects that provide education, training, and support to women in rural areas.
Avni helps tribal women by making cloth pads that give these women a way to earn money and become financially independent.
All these new companies are changing the way people think about women’s health and hygiene in India. They are breaking down old barriers and making sure women have the information they need to take care of their health. This is promising a better future where women’s well-being is a top priority in Indian society.