A New Crop of Companies Want to Stimulate Your Period Empowering
Diana Sierra was in Ruhiira, Uganda, in 2011, coaching entrepreneurs on product design, when a local educator told her something startling: Many of the educators female students skipped school during their period because they lacked adequate feminine-hygiene products. Sierra, whos designed everything from pacifiers to perfume bottles, assured a humanitarian and design imperative: How could she devote impoverished females a high-quality, attractive feminine-hygiene product on par with whats available to women in the developed world? Her answer: the EmpowerPanty, a pair of lacy, colorful period underwear with a removable, quick-drying pad. Preorders ship soon; for each one bought in the U.S ., shell donate another to a woman in need. If you want to create gender equality, tells Sierra, 36, whose company, Be Girl, has been empowered with$ 1 million in venture capital, you have to start making equality within gender.
The EmpowerPanty sounds revolutionary, but its not. Its only part of an uprising, one thats been cheered in style pages and promoted by the more than a dozen companies that havetheres truly only a single word to describe itflooded the feminine-hygiene marketplace since 2012, all eager to help women deal with that time of the month. Surely youve considered the ads for period panties, organic tampons, and monthly subscription services that mail hygiene products to your doorway with allaying treats such as tea and chocolate. Its not like there wasnt a require: Packaged-goods conglomerates have barely changed their wares in decades, and their messaging, with perky, smiling women in white pants, is silly and condescending.
Almost all the new startups stress that theyre not just helping women in the First World; theyre on a social mission, and they want you to join in! Like Be Girl, period-underwear company Thinx and organic tampon companies Cora and Conscious Period hires a version of the one-for-one model. Thinx donates fund to Afripads, which helps Ugandan females fabricate and sell locally constructed sanitary pads; Dear Kate, another period-underwear startup, gives fund to money science, technology, engineering, and math education for girls; Jessica Albas Honest donates sanitary supplies to homeless women in Africa.