Most men squirm at the mention of women’s periods. And then there’s Muruganantham, an illiterate school dropout. After discovering his wife’s rudimentary means of managing her periods, he rolled up his sleeves and went on a remarkable quest to provide low cost sanitary towels to rural Indian women.
Muruganantham is hailed as a visionary who is empowering rural women across India.
His invention is now being used by Jonah Hammill to provide affordable sanitary towels for women In rural India. Click here to support her.
Labelled a pervert and shunned, today he is hailed as a visionary around the world.
A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.
This “revolution” came about after Muruganantham discovered his wife was using “nasty cloths” instead of sanitary napkins during her period. He realised that sanitary napkins were being sold at 40 times the price they should be sold at for what they weighed, and decided that he could make them cheaper himself.
In his search for volunteers, Muruganantham discovered that only 7% of women in India use sanitary napkins, and only 2% of women in rural areas use them. Unfortunately because women are so unwilling to discuss their periods, he failed to find an adequate number of volunteers.
During his research, he would wash his bloodied clothes in public, and he soon became the talk of the town.He ended up having to leave his village, and after four and a half years, he successfully found a way to produce low-cost sanitary pads.
Muruganantham’s machine was awarded a national innovation award by the president of India. It took Muruganantham 18 months to build 250 machines, but his “low-cost sanitary pad movement” is gaining momentum, and the pads are available in 1,300 villages in 23 states.