Champions of Change: Five Organisations at the Forefront of Making Menstrual Hygiene a Social Commitment in India

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National: In Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there exists a powerful and transformative movement centred around an often overlooked yet critical aspect of women’s health – menstrual hygiene. Beyond profit margins and quarterly reports, forward-thinking corporations are recognising their role in addressing social issues, with a specific focus on fostering awareness and solutions for menstrual hygiene. This delves into the evolving landscape where corporate entities are embracing menstrual hygiene as not just a women’s health matter but as a broader social duty. Corporations are breaking taboos and implementing sustainable initiatives and by stepping into this crucial space, they demonstrate that addressing menstrual hygiene is not just an option; it is a corporate and social imperative.

  1. Lumina Datamatics, a prominent global provider of content and technology solutions, has revealed its partnership with Saukhyam and Anju Bist, widely recognised as the Pad Woman of India for her groundbreaking work in manufacturing and raising awareness about reusable sanitary pads. This collaboration will encompass a sequence of awareness workshops conducted in multiple colleges and institutes across Maharashtra. These workshops covered essential subjects like menstrual hygiene, the ecological consequences of disposable sanitary items, and the benefits of adopting reusable sanitary pads. The objective was to advocate for sustainable menstrual hygiene practices and cultivate a more knowledgeable and empowered generation.
  1. Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) undertakes Project Shakti with the aim of empowering women in rural areas through the production and distribution of economical sanitary pads. The initiative not only addresses the challenge of accessibility to menstrual hygiene products but also generates employment opportunities by providing training to local women, enabling them to become micro-entrepreneurs.
  1. Tata Water Mission, an organisation dedicated to water conservation, initiated a menstrual hygiene programme in India. This programme offers educational and training sessions on menstrual hygiene for women and girls, in addition to distributing sanitary napkins. The Tata Water Mission promotes safe and effective menstrual hygiene management in around 900 villages, covering a stakeholder base of over 200,000 women and 45,000 men of all ages over three years. The programme seeks to build a socio-cultural environment that is conducive for girls and women to manage menstruation with dignity and without any fear.
  1. Apexon, a technology services company with a digital-first approach, has recently unveiled a collaboration with Karma Foundation to initiate a campaign aimed at promoting awareness about menstrual wellness and hygiene throughout India. The ‘Happy Periods’ initiative, facilitated by Apexon’s philanthropy platform, Ignite, involves a cooperative effort between the two organisations to produce and provide sanitary products to financially disadvantaged women across the country.
  2. PNB Housing Finance has embarked on a commendable initiative to raise awareness and educate women in rural areas about the significance of menstrual hygiene. On January 19, 2023, a menstrual hygiene management (MHM) programme was launched, wherein the company, in collaboration with the Desai Foundation, established a facility for the production of sanitary napkins located on Sitapur Road in Lucknow. The programme aims to increase awareness about menstrual hygiene among rural women and provide them with easy access to quality and affordable sanitary napkins. A three-pronged approach, i.e., creating awareness, establishing a local production unit, and building a robust distribution network of female sales representatives, will help foster a sustainable ecosystem and boost their financial empowerment