In America, many of us (though obviously not all) are privileged enough to be able to buy our monthly supply of sanitary pads and tampons as needed. It’s an easy enough process, and even though we may not like it, we do it anyway because we can and need to. In our society, it’s seen as a necessity. In others, however, it’s seen as a luxury. India is one such place.
Kristin Kagetsu is making sanitary pads for women in India!
Kristin Kagetsu is a Mechanical Engineer and MIT graduate who left the United States for India back in 2014. Her goal then was to bring sanitary pads to the women of India, and in order to do so, she created a start up. Her start up company is called “Saathi Pads”, the website for which you can check out here.
The problem in India is occurring in the countries rural areas. In the cities, there are sanitary pads available to women, but they cost a lot, and thus are inaccessible to most women in rural India because they just can’t afford the cost. “Most women still use rag cloth and cotton and that’s just stressful,” says Neeta Panchal, a factory worker in India.
According to CNN, a study in 2011 claimed that only 12% of women in India used sanitary pads during their menstruation, though Saathi Pads says that the number has grown to 16% since then.
“Saathi Pads said it plans to sell its product for around 15 rupees ($ 0.22) online and in urban areas but will distribute them for free in rural areas, or at heavily subsidized rates.” — CNN
But There’s More to This That Makes Them Special …
These pads aren’t just like the ones you can buy in the store. Kristin Kagetsu has invented these pads and made them biodegradable and out of banana plants. Yes, you read that correctly. It took about six months to come up with the final product.
Because of the fact that these are made out of banana fibers, these pads can afford to be at their very low price, making them more available to the women who need it. On top of this, they can also be up cycled and used for compost after use.
These pads will be available for purchase in 2017, and their plan is to distribute a million of them to the women living in the rural area of India called “Jharkhand”.