Many women have had to go through embarrassing situations because their period was unexpected – and that has to change, she says
Women’s Day is coming, harrij times More women are being introduced who are breaking down barriers, starting difficult conversations and making a difference for thousands.
Giving women access to sanitary napkins that are affordable, affordable and convenient – that’s the goal of Emirati entrepreneur Alyazi Al Muhairi when she founded her business, Coven. Founded in August 2022, Coven is dedicated to creating spaces that are inclusive of women’s menstrual health by providing safe and ultra-hygienic alternatives to feminine care.
“A woman’s journey is discounted,” Alyazi said. “In many cases, a woman has had to cancel a meeting or plan because she had an unexpected period. If she didn’t bring the pad, she had to walk out of the office, rush to the supermarket or pharmacy, or even stash it in her purse on the way to the bathroom Or anywhere. However, most offices and restrooms in public places do not have sanitary pad dispensers.”
During his decision-making work at a government agency, Alyazi became aware of the lack of bathroom equity between men and women and wanted to change that. To fill this void, she and her friends formed Coven.
“In my office, every woman brings her own pad,” she said. “At one point, we ran out of sanitary pads because the cleaning lady took one. That’s when I started thinking, it’s a normal thing. Why don’t offices provide sanitary pads like they provide paper towels or toilet paper? There are a lot of women because Traumatized by having an unexpected period and having to go through an embarrassing situation because pads were not readily available.”
99% of women want pad vending machines: Poll
Alyazi, who primarily operates as a B2B business that aims to provide sanitary napkin vending machines for offices and public places, said she encountered a lot of resistance and challenges.
“We called the office and told them we were going to give them vending machines at cost or even for free, but we never heard back from them,” she admitted. “It’s like people just don’t want to admit that women are menstruating or that they need pads.”
However, the team has seen a huge response from women-owned businesses. “They were very responsive and bought into the idea,” she said. “We noticed that when women were not at the decision-making table, women’s needs were not considered. Whether it was Period Entitlement or Maternity Leave Or provide sanitary napkins. “
In a survey of more than 500 women, the company found that 99 percent wanted sanitary napkin vending machines in public areas. However, Alyazi said the current vending machines in some toilets are inconvenient and bulky. “First, it only uses coins,” she said. “Who always carries coins with them? Also, these pads are poor quality and can lead to UTIs or infections.”
Affordable and environmentally friendly
According to Alyazi, a lot of thought went into designing the pads. “We wanted something that was good quality, affordable and environmentally friendly,” she said. Coven products use bamboo fiber to make products more sustainable.
“It takes a lot of resources to produce cotton,” she said. “Processing it is also laborious for the environment due to the fumes released. Bamboo, on the other hand, is a voluntary tree and using its fibers is better for the environment.”
The product’s packaging is designed to preserve its individuality. “A lot of women feel embarrassed when they take a pad out of their bag and take it to the bathroom,” Alyazi said. “So, we made the packaging to make it look self-contained. I’ve actually tested it in a lot of social situations to see if men can understand what it is. They mostly think it’s a face mask.”
Alyazi said the team has worked hard to design a high-quality product at a low cost. “Our pads are tested in the lab to make sure they’re hypoallergenic,” she says. “Plus, we want them to be more accessible and very low cost. Nobody even thinks about the fact that low-income women can’t afford sanitary pads. It’s never discussed.”
The company has also donated thousands of pads to women’s labor camps and events to ensure they reach those who need them most.