Through extensive fieldwork, and our own personal experiences, we have learned that menstruation is a subject involving complex linkages between social, cultural, economic, environmental, health, and gender issues. Therefore, there is not one ‘magical menstrual product’ that can be a solution for all women. The Eco Femme approach emphasises education and empowerment of women to make their own decisions toward positive, integral management of menstruation through area-specific action research.
In our work in different parts of India we often encounter diverse rituals, traditions, and systems of knowledge involving menstruation. In our commitment to providing basic health and hygiene education we also strive to engage with these cultural practices, acknowledging that they have been in place for centuries and that they are often part of the glue that binds a community together—and they often hold a lot of meaning for those who follow them!
Our goal is not to ‘break’ any taboos, but rather to open a safe space for critical and personal reflection on how menstruation is viewed in our communities and our own experiences with those status quos. In these conversations, we hope to deconstruct ingrained cultural conditioning that leads to the degradation of women and the earth and to empower women as change agents, by providing information and ways for them to reconnect to their embodied knowledge and voice.
In each of our outreach areas, we work closely with our implementation partners and organisations who order non-commercial pads to make sure we are able to best meet the needs of their specific community. We also see each project as a chance to enhance our own learning and improve our work.
Passing on the Power of Informed Choice
Pad for Pad connects our customers and adolescent girls in India through the shared experience of menstruation, respect for our bodies, and love for the earth. When women and girls around the world choose to use our cloth pads their purchase ensures that other girls, who might not otherwise be able to, get to access clean, alternative menstrual products and answers to their questions. It’s an idea we like to call ‘eco-sisterhood.’
In October 2013, we launched Pads for Sisters in order to make our products accessible to economically disadvantaged women (over 19 years old). Under this program, we provide cloth pads at a subsidised price (reflecting the cost of materials and stitching only, no overheads) to organizations working with women who otherwise could not afford the products.
Are you interested in sharing Eco Femme’s vision of eco-positive, dignified, and healthy periods? We invite you become an Eco Femme Ambassador and help change the world one period at a time.
As part of our commitment to revitalising female-and earth-honouring menstrual products and practices, Eco Femme is developing itself as a research and resource centre.
Building upon the success of our flagship Pad for Pad program, Eco Femme has identified the need for a more in-depth and far-reaching approach to menstrual education, which includes the broader issues of women’s empowerment and socio-environmental change. To address this need, a series of workshops and seminars is being developed.
A training program for Eco Femme ambassadors and facilitators, including a workshop to be offered in Auroville, on an annual or bi-annual basis, is currently in development.