The Pad Piper (02:33)
Arunachalam Muruganantham is an entrepreneur that invented a sanitary pad easily accessible to poor Indian women. He meets with a group in Tokyo, Japan to discuss potential his product. He prefers to avoid the use of chemicals.
Stigma Around Menstruation (02:27)
Menstruation is taboo in many places. In India, women were not allowed to enter the house during their periods. They are still not allowed to enter temples.
Inventing Organic Sanitary Pads (05:14)
Muruganantham comes from a village on the outskirts of Coimbatore, a city in Southern India, and a hub for textile industries. When he got married and found out how expensive the sanitary pads his wife uses are, he started experimenting with making his own. Menstruation is a taboo subject in India, but is starting to become more acceptable to discuss.
Sanitary Pad Use in India (04:49)
Because of the taboo around menstruation, Muruganantham had to test his pads by using them himself. This earned him the scorn of his friends and neighbors, and even his wife left him. Meanwhile, only 12% of women in India wear pads or tampons, posing a significant health risk.
Women's Hygiene Entrepreneurship (04:57)
Having developed his sanitary pad making machine over eight years, Muruganantham realized the business potential of his invention. Instead of mass production, he employs what he calls "production by masses." On Andaman Island, a young Indian woman, Juthi, shares her experiences with menstruation.
Bringing Hygiene to Rural Villages (04:56)
Muruganantham visits rural villages to teach local women how to use his machine. He demonstrates the use of his machine to a crowd of students. Juthi would like to learn to make and sell pads, but is hesitant because of social stigmas.
Making Your First Sanitary Pad (03:07)
Juthi finally goes to learn how to make a sanitary pad with Muruganantham. He is training women across India to set up small scale businesses using his machine. This allows women like Juthi to make enough money to fund other goals.
Indumathy's Sanitary Napkin Factory (07:36)
The successful business model for Muruganantham's machine began in the textile hub of Tiruppur. Indumathy is a middle-class housewife who started a sanitary pad making business with his machine to make ends meet. She and her friends innovated new products.
Taboos and Menstruation (04:35)
Muruganantham explains how superstition slows the acceptance of women's hygiene. Although goddess worship is ubiquitous in India, menstruating women are looked down upon. Indian men and women share the taboos they were taught about menstruation by their families.
Breaking Through the Menstruation Taboo (06:27)
Conservative attitudes and superstition limit the spread of sanitary pad use in India. When Indumathy tried to sell her products, she realized how uninformed Indian women were about menstruation. Poor hygiene causes severe health problems for women, so began to educate rural women.
Modern Day Pied Piper (04:29)
Muruganantham explains how his business model empowers and educates women to change society. Muruganantham shares his perspective on women's empowerment and his own upbringing.
Credits: The Pad Piper (00:60)
Credits: The Pad Piper
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