Talking about menstruation makes people squeamish. It’s a reality that stems from the patriarchal mentality that women should be ashamed of their body’s natural occurrences. Menstruation remains a stigmatized taboo, and women are made to feel embarrassed for who they are.
Every woman has experienced that fear: a visible leak resulting from an unchecked period. From grade school into adulthood, sometimes women forget when to be prepared, their menstrual cycle comes at unexpected moments or they do not have enough support to hold the bloodflow.
Even worse: Lack of access to feminine hygiene products remains an epidemic in many parts of the developing world. Women miss school during their period, and some even have to drop out from getting too far behind. The stigma these women face in other parts of the world limits their potential to get normal paying jobs.
One company is out to change that. Miki Agrawal is the CEO and founder of THINX—a women’s underwear line designed to contain menstrual flow. For every pair of underwear purchased, seven AFRIpads, a Ugandan feminine hygiene brand that produces washable, reusable feminine hygiene products, are donated to one women. Instead of only donating the pads, AFRIpads creates jobs for local women to create the reusable products in developing countries.
Their technology has four layers—a moisture-removing layer, a stain-resistant antimicrobial layer, a layer that is supposed to be the equivalent of a pad, and lastly, a leak-resistant layer.
The underwear comes in three styles—thong, cheeky and hip-hugger. Different styles are designed to hold different levels of bloodflow. The hip-hugger is made to hold at least two tampons worth of blood.
Since the invention of the tampon, there have been no real strides in feminine hygiene, Agrawal told Forbes. She hopes to disrupt the feminine hygiene industry and reduce waste from tampons and pads, getting rid of landfill that results from the traditional means of hygiene.
“I want to change the culture around women’s most normal time of month — and not while wearing grandma panties or pads that feel like a diaper,” Agrawal told Forbes. With underwear that is cute, cost-effective and environmentally friendly, Agrawal is revolutionizing how women experience periods on a global scale.