Every 28 days, women and girls of all ethnicities, races, sizes, religions, and nationalities experience the same thing:
For those of us living in high-income countries, we may get annoyed or even a bit moody when our beloved “Aunt Flow” comes to town, but we never lack access to essential, sanitary, and seemingly “life-saving” feminine products (i.e. tampons and/or pads).
As it turns out, feminine products are not seemingly life-saving, but actually life-saving – at least from an educational and economic standpoint. In 2010, UNICEF estimated approximately 10 percent of African adolescent girls do not attend school while menstruating. For those girls, keeping up with class lessons becomes an incredible challenge, as they inevitably miss a staggering 20 percent of school days. As a result, many female students drop out of school upon reaching puberty. Additional reasons for high female dropout rates include the fear of being ridiculed by their peers while menstruating, a lack of knowledge about the menstrual cycle, and a lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools. Fortunately, WomanCare Global recently announced its plan to improve global feminine hygiene.
Partnering with Evofem, a California-based bio-technology company, WomanCare Global aims to market, sell, and distribute their feminine hygiene products Amphora and Softcup to women and girls around the world.
Amphora, a hormone-free, non-invasive contraceptive vaginal gel, is currently in Phase III of an extensive global clinical trial where it, thus far, has proven effective at protecting against unwanted pregnancies and various forms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – including HIV.
On the other hand, Softcup serves as a reliable alternative to tampons or pads, with over 120 million sold to date. A flexible cup worn internally around the cervix, Softcup collects (rather than absorbs) the menstrual flow, thereby eliminating any potential odor. Available in both reusable and disposable options, the Softcup can be worn for up to 12 hours and has a zero incidence rate of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Durable, flexible,and comfortable, one reusable Softcup could potentially last for an entire period.
What do products like Amphora and Softcup mean for women and girls in the developing world?
Because Amphora has been deemed effective at protecting against unwanted pregnancy and/or STIs, sexually-active women and girl users in low-income countries are better able to enjoy consensual sexual intercourse rather than fear its consequences.
For young female students, modern feminine hygiene products like Softcup equate to an increased school attendance rate and the potential to attain a high-level education, thus opening the door to widespread career opportunities and higher incomes. Similarly, adult women obtain an enhanced sense of freedom and independence by using products like Softcup, as they no longer have to constantly worry about most effectively timing bathroom breaks.
As a result, adult women using modern feminine hygiene products demonstrate a heightened ability to increase time spent working, to earn higher incomes, and to support their family – both economically and emotionally.
Planning on attending the 2013 Women Deliver Conference? You can learn more about the benefits of Amphora and Softcup from Saundra Pelletier, CEO of WomanCare Global and Evofem. Look out for their “Speaker’s Corner Session” at Exhibit Hall 2 on Wednesday, May 29th from 12:15-12:30 p.m.
For more information, please visit:
“No Pads, No School: Girls’ Education Going Down the Toilet,” Think Africa Press