Around 88 percent menstruating women do not have access to sanitary products and 90 percent of the sanitary pads used are made of non-bio degradable plastic.
In India, hygiene products are not affordable for every woman. Around 88 percent menstruating women do not have access to sanitary products and about 90 percent of the sanitary pads used are made of non-bio degradable plastic.
Many women use unhygienic materials like cloth, husk, newspapers during their menstrual cycles which leads to urinary tract infections. Most of these infections are also spread through unclean public toilets in India.
Interestingly, there are more mobile phones in India than toilets.
Almost half of the population does not access to a private or public toilet. About 52% of the rural population in India uses open areas to relieve themselves, as per government’s own figures.
Lack of access to clean hygienic facilities complicates matters for women.
However there are a few entrepreneurs who have left cushy jobs to return to India and make an impact in this realm.
Here are five startups who are trying to make an impact on the women hygiene space in India:
PeeBuddy- PeeBuddy is a female urinating device where the women can protect herself from getting infections because of using dirty public toilets.
It is funnel shaped and made of cardboard which can be placed between the legs to pass the urine. It’s for single use and women can also stand and pee. It is founded by Deep Bajaj in 2014.
Bajaj did his post-graduation from Australian National University and worked in events and advertising. He works for First Step Digital Pvt-Ltd- a product innovation company focusing on ‘intimate hygiene’, wellness products and services for women.
Purganics- The platform’s feminine hygiene line is 100 percent free from plastics, perfumes, chlorine based dyes, and other chemicals.
The platform is known for its sanitary products which are 100 percent cotton based and biodegradable
Purganics was founded by Nisha Bains who is passionate about her company that makes everyday use products that are high quality, safe, effective, natural and eco-friendly. Nisha graduated in MBA from American University.
She was an associate director in KPMG and also worked as a program manager in Fannie Mae, before coming back to Mumbai to start this business.
She faced a problem herself in the US which led her to shift to organic products.
Maya App (Plackal Tech): The app enables women to keep track of their menstrual and physiological health.
The Bangalore based startup founded by John Paul in 2012, uses data, analytics and machine learning to provide insights to women around their health. Around six million women around the globe are using the app.
Paul graduated from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and is the founder of Plackal Tech working for the betterment of women’s health in India through data analytics and machine learning.
Saathi- The startup sells biodegradable sanitary pad made from banana fibre for the Indian market. They are made from discarded banana trees and does not cause any skin irritation.
The company was founded by three Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates—Amrita Saigal, Grace Kane and Kristin Kagetsu.
Kristen worked in Oracle as a hardware engineer and co-founded Saathi in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Amrita Saigal post graduated from Harvard Business School and worked for Google at Glass at work as business development.
Saral Designs- Saral designs is a product driven start-up founded by Suhani Mohan and Kartik Mehta, IIT alumni.
The Mumbai-based startup developed a low-cost process for manufacturing high-quality sanitary napkins- Aisha pads at the decentralized level.
The startup has also installed vending machines in various school toilets along with hygiene awareness.