Even though it is 2015, there is still a stigma about menstruation in the United States--some people are reluctant to talk about it or find the topic 'embarrassing' or 'gross,' but this is a normal, biological process, and this stigma may be even more pronounced in developing countries. In developing countries women might not have access to sanitary products, there might be a lack of plumbing, or superstitions and religious traditions may leave many women feeling ashamed or isolated because of their periods. Indeed, in India, only 12% of women use sanitary products! It is amid this dire need for more information on menstruation and sanitary practices that Arunachalam Muruganantham created an organic tampon business that is noting short of revolutionary! Muruganantham noticed his wife struggle with menstruation and he dedicated himself to inventing a machine to make low-cost sanitary pads out of pulverized wood fiber. He has more than 100 production sites that serve over a thousand of the poorest and most under-developed regions of India.

Muruganantham's production model has been adopted and tweaked by others to fill the desperate need for sanitary products. Ultimately this works helps young girls not miss school due to their periods and older women feel less isolated when it's their time of the month. All of Murugantham's production sites are managed and staffed by women who make and sell the pads at minimal cost. Normalizing menstruation and making women feel comfortable with this biological process are key factors to improved education and collaboration towards creative solutions such as this!

Source: New York Times

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