But in developing countries like Rwanda, for example, where sanitary supplies are scarce and steeply priced, women are left to use rags, mud or bark to stem their flow as best they can, and often must miss school or work days due to their period.
Harvard Business School recently selected its first-ever Social Entrepreneurship Fellow, Elizabeth Scharpf, a 2007 HBS grad working to deliver minimally priced maxi pads to developing countries. Scharpf will use the $25,000 grant to help launch Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), beginning in Rwanda. SHE is developing a sanitary pad from local materials, which will cost about 30% less than brands currently available. Local women will manufacture and market the pads, and eventually will own the business themselves through microfinance loans.
Scharpf's brainchild will not only stem the bleeding for Rwandan girls and women, but also create local jobs, promote sustainable agriculture and help open up a dialogue about sexual health. No cramp in her style.
Now, maybe Harvard can work on eradicating its hideous patriarchal mascot.