Entrepreneurship brings equitable status to women
Female reproductive health may not seem like a business issue, but when the SSCBS Enactus team learned that more than 70 percent of women in India have some sort of health problem due to inadequate knowledge and availability of feminine hygiene products, they knew business was exactly the answer to impacting the health, dignity and financial challenges facing women throughout their country.
More specifically, the team saw a business model that focused on access and affordability of sanitary products as the primary solution to removing the burdens Indian women face related to this rarely-talked-about biological function. They trained 25 women to sell sanitary products door-to-door and to effectively reduce costs and allow the sellers to earn a reasonable profit margin, the items were procured directly from the manufacturers. Within weeks of implementation, the project participants were exhibiting confidence, independence and leadership, and by financially contributing to their families, the women’s opinions and ideas began holding more influence in the community.
Today the “Sanitary Solutions” project is operational in 17 slums across Delhi and has targeted more than 20,000 women. For the female entrepreneurs participating in the selling of the hygiene products, each has seen their household incomes increase by 190 percent and nearly all report having their own bank accounts for the first time. Also, women’s health is improving as the use in feminine hygiene products has risen from 27 percent to 58 percent.