It's that time of the month again - or is it?
As women, we are all too familiar with the monthly struggles that accompany our periods. From headaches and bloating to cramps and fatigue, it can be difficult to get through each day of our menstrual cycles feeling healthy and energized. But for many women around the world, particularly those living in poverty, this struggle is even more difficult.
Period poverty, or the inability to afford menstrual products on a monthly basis, is a growing issue that impacts millions of women and girls. Unable to properly manage their periods, these women are often forced to use unsafe and unhygienic methods like rags or leaves, which can lead to health complications and even infections. This can also have serious social and economic implications, as many of these women miss school or work while they're on their periods due to a lack of access to proper hygiene products.
But there is hope for those living with period poverty. Many organizations are working hard to raise awareness about this issue and provide resources for those in need.
In this article, we'll talk about how Sparkle is working to tackle the issue of period poverty, and how we can all help to support these efforts. But first, let's dig deeper into the challenges that come with period poverty, and the impact it has on women and the planet
What is Period Poverty?
Period poverty refers to the difficulty that many women face in accessing hygiene products during their periods. These products--such as tampons, pads, and menstrual cups--can be costly and inaccessible, especially in low-income areas where access to healthcare and education may also be limited. Not only does period poverty leave millions of women struggling physically during their cycles, but it can also lead to more complex issues such as shame and stigma.
Period Poverty in India
In India, only 42% of women have access to sanitary products, leaving millions of women and girls struggling to manage their periods on a daily basis. Here are 4 main facts about period poverty in India:
Menstruation is a topic that is often shrouded in stigma and shame in India. 71% of girls have no knowledge about menstrual health until after their first period, and this lack of education can contribute to negative cultural norms surrounding menstruation. Women are seen as unclean and are often separated from others during this time, a phenomenon that is likely linked to prevailing gender norms. Furthermore, there is no required curriculum surrounding menstrual health in Indian schools, which may contribute to these harmful attitudes.
High sanitation expenses:
Ever since the high cost of menstrual products in India was first brought to light, it has remained a major concern among those living in poverty. With millions of Indians living on less than $1.90 per day, the cost of sanitary pads can be prohibitively expensive for those in need. 90% decrease in school dropout rates when adolescent menstruators have access to sanitary napkins. In addition, many girls and young women are unable to access toilets at home or in public, which can further increase the financial burden of managing their periods.
Lower levels of education attainment:
Despite improvements in access to education and other resources, many girls in India still face significant challenges due to period poverty. With lower levels of educational attainment and a higher risk of child marriage, girls who struggle with period poverty often miss school or drop out altogether. In fact, 23% of girls in India drop out of school once they reach puberty, a stark reminder of the importance of addressing this issue.
Heightened Risk of Illness:
Many women in India suffer from reproductive diseases due to poor menstrual hygiene. This often manifests as the use of dirty rags or other makeshift substitutes for sanitary pads. Even if these rags are cleaned and properly dried, they can still be a source of bacterial infection. Additionally, an estimated 63 million adolescent girls in India do not have access to proper sanitation, making it difficult for them to maintain good menstrual hygiene practices.
In brief, period poverty in India is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. By raising awareness about the social, economic, and health impacts of poor menstrual hygiene, we can help empower women and girls to take control of their bodies and reclaim their rights. Furthermore, better access to affordable sanitary products and education are crucial steps toward reducing period poverty. And that's exactly how Sparkle is taking action in this matter.
Sparkle: Sustainability at Every Level
Sustainability is not just a core principle at Sparkle, but something that they are passionate about and strive to embody in everything they do. Sparkle believes that by making thoughtful decisions today, they can ensure a better future for generations to come.
Their sustainability goals represent who they are as a company: committed to doing business responsibly, ethically, and in a way that lasts. Whether it's selecting the best ingredients for products or standing up for what they believe in, Sparkle is always working to make a positive impact on our world.
This is how Sparkle's sustainability Strategy is in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Good Health and well-being
Putting people first is at the heart of everything Sparkle does, from creating a safe and healthy work environment to using the latest production technologies and an organized organizational structure. Whether it's the supply chain mechanics or innovative personal care products, they are committed to making people's health and well-being their top priority.
Energy is becoming more and more important in our modern world, and we believe it is vital that companies take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
At Sparkle, they are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, which means that we are actively working towards reducing energy use, transitioning to renewable energy sources, minimizing landfill waste, offering more sustainable products, optimizing the supply chain, and using innovative raw materials.
Achieving full potential at school and work can be a challenge for menstruators, as many miss out on valuable time due to a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. Sparkle believes that equal opportunities for all are key to creating a more just and prosperous world.
Empowerment through education:
Sparkle works with local schools, communities, and NGOs in cities and rural areas to educate girls about the basics of menstruation and menstrual hygiene through interactive workshops. Female teachers are chosen to spearhead these projects.
The goal is to empower young women by helping them understand their bodies and learn about the benefits of practicing good menstrual hygiene.
Responsible Consumption and Production
Adopting a circular solution approach, the company strives to reduce waste at every stage of its production process. They focus on the concepts of waste reduction and in-house recycling. Keeping the whole product life cycle in mind, their aim is to achieve a balance between the demand and resources in order to reduce any negative impact on the environment.
With the participation of 100 menstruators, we have embarked on our GreenCycle pilot project. Every month, we collect used sanitary pads and transport them to our industrial composting site.
Here, using in-vessel hot composting machines, we create optimal conditions for microorganisms to thrive and accelerate decomposition.
Life on Land
Sparkle are using responsibly sourced materials and organic, non-toxic fibers to create biodegradable products. Their fluff pulp is made from 100% FSC-certified wood-based raw materials, while their nonwovens are created using OEKO-TEX-certified fibers. Plastic? Never. Plus, they never test their products on animals, so you can feel good about using environmentally-friendly products.
Toward a better future
With the goal of creating a better world for future generations, Sparkle is committed to making strides in sustainability. They are always looking at ways to improve their processes and create products that leave as little of an impact on the planet as possible. By being mindful of how we use natural resources and by taking small steps every day, they hope to create a more positive future for us all.
."As we look at the challenges of sustainability in the market for sanitary pads, we recognize that there are many different factors to consider, including health, environmental, socioeconomic, and financial considerations. To address these issues, we are working to increase accessibility, affordability, and awareness among consumers. Through collaboration with other industry players and leveraging our position as one of the largest manufacturers of sustainable sanitary pads in India, we hope to create a more sustainable market for sanitary products in the long term."
Said Chirag in our recent podcast.
Do you want to help us take strides toward a more sustainable future? Join the movement by choosing Sparkle products and supporting our efforts to make sanitary pads more accessible and affordable for all.