‘Menstrual Man’ Had an Idea to Help Indian Women
Watch the trailer for Menstrual Man here:
Arunachalam Muruganantham had his light bulb moment when he was 29 years old, and holding a sanitary napkin for the first time.
Examining the cotton pads he was buying as a gift for his new wife, the Indian entrepreneur realized that the multinational company that produced them was probably spending cents on raw materials, and making a huge profit.
Women in Muruganantham’s village in Tamil Nadu, including his wife, would often forego these expensive pads for rags they used repeatedly through their cycles. Even more uncomfortably, sometimes they utilized husks or leaves during menstruation.
The exorbitant cost of the foreign-made pads cut into their families’ meal budget. Given a choice between fresh pads and fresh milk, they chose the latter.
A new movie, Menstrual Man, documents how, at great personal cost, Muruganantham created a cheap machine to address the persistent menstrual hygiene challenges for rural women on the subcontinent. But, as director Amit Virmani points out, the product’s traction may have more to do with social entrepreneurship than with health concerns.
Once Muruganantham had prototyped the machine, he needed testers. But his wife and other family members refused, as did girls at the nearby medical college. So Muru, as Virmani calls him, decided to become a tester himself.
He filled bottles with animal blood and attached tubes that would press the blood into his drawers as he biked and walked around town. His rural village shunned him, viewing this with suspicion. And his wife’s suspicions — that he was chasing medical college girls around town for something other than product testing — ended his marriage.
Read the rest here: ‘Menstrual Man’ Had an Idea to Help Indian Women : All Tech Considered : NPR