Period Of Change Webinar 2: The development of the MHM sector in India

We are starting Week 2 of our #periodofchange campaign with the webinar on Saturday, May 2nd 12-01 pm IST. The theme for this – “The development of the MHM sector in India: Disposable sanitary napkins: a blessing or a curse?”. 

For the panel, we have invited women who work in the menstrual hygiene management sector – as doctors, educators, designers, communicators, business women and manufacturers of sustainable hygiene products. These panelists have years of experience in this sector. Their work is at the grassroots finding solutions with women around sustainable menstrual products and hygiene education. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is interested in menstrual hygiene management, sustainable alternative menstrual hygiene products and sustainability, in general.

Panelists, all of whom have experience in menstrual hygiene management, first provide an overview of the historical development of this sector, the inherent developmental challenges in the sector, and the government and non-government initiatives that have been taken to meet this challenge including the provision of subsidized disposable pads. Then, the panelists debate the pros and cons of disposable pads, both commercial disposable pads as well as pads made by women’s self-help groups or social entrepreneurs. The debate also looks at health issues related to disposable pads.

Our panelists include:

Arundati Muralidharan
Arundati Muralidharan, DrPH, MSW, is a Senior Research Fellow at PHFI. As a public health practitioner and qualitative researcher, Arundati is interested in studying and addressing the factors that underlie and influence health and health behaviour, with the aim to identify and promote effective, evidence-based strategies. Her expertise lies in understanding the social determinants of health, developing relevant and innovative program strategies, and evaluating interventions.  Arundati leads studies on social determinants of health, specifically gender, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in urban areas. Her work in the development also includes sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in Mumbai slums and sex workers and addressing gender based violence.


Suhani Mohan

Suhani MohanSuhani Mohan is working on providing access to affordable and quality menstrual hygiene products to women in India. Her team is developing a fully automatic, compact machine producing sanitary napkins in a decentralized manner and vending machines for improving the access to sanitary napkins. With 3 years of investment banking experience at Deutsche Bank, Suhani holds a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering and a Minor in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay (Batch of 2011). She is also an India Africa Young Visionary and an Acumen India Fellow.


Rushil Prakash

Rushil PrakashRushil works with the Portfolio team at Dasra, and provides hands‐on capacity building support to organizations to enable them to scale effectively. She has been working closely with Eco Femme, an Auroville‐based social enterprise that promotes healthy, dignified and eco‐positive menstrual management. Before joining Dasra, Rushil worked in Mumbai and London for the investment bank Nomura, working with heads of businesses on high priority strategic projects and business planning. Rushil graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi, with a BA (Honours) degree in Mathematics.


Bharathy Tahiliani

Bharathy TahilianiBharathy Tahiliani has worked for the past 13 years, in various areas like child protection, HIV/AIDS, WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene), primarily in adolescent and menstrual hygiene, and supporting women in distress. She has been a consultant with UNICEF on Child Protection and later with WASH on Adolescent and Menstrual Hygiene Management for last 4 years. She is also the founder & managing trustee of Kshamata, an organisation on a mission to bring liberation to women and adolescent girls faced with vulnerable and exploitative situations, and empowering them to become respected, productive and earning citizens by providing on‐going care and support, soft skills and life skills.


Lakshmi Murthy

Lakshmi MurthyLakshmi Murthy graduated from the National Institute of Design in 1986. Since then, she has both lived and worked at Udaipur in Rajasthan, running a design studio, Vikalpdesign. She also leads the “Sukarkshit Mahwari Abhiyan”, a Safe Menstruation Campaign, and the Uger Reusable Sanitary Napkin Production unit together with Jatan Sansthan at Rajsamand and Udaipur district. Her work includes training programmes on Reproductive and Sexual Health. She has been a recipient of the CSC Meritorious Commendation award, awarded by the Centre for Communication and Social Change, The University of Queensland, Australia in 2009. She is currently enrolled for a Doctoral Programme at the Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India, researching on Menstruation Management and Sustainability.



Malati Gadgil

Malati Gadgil is a core team member of SWaCH Pune, a cooperative for waste‐pickers. She is passionate about social justice and waste‐pickers’ rights.

You can watch the webinar live 12 pm IST onwards on May 2nd, 2015 on this video:

Leave your questions for our panelists on http://goo.gl/forms/SazvBp1LOl

This post is part of Period Of Change, a 5-week campaign organized by The Kachra Project along with Earth&us that aims to mobilize people (both men and women) around menstrual waste as a starting point to lobby for change in current practices in MH waste management.


In this Period of Change, hygienic sustainable menstruation for all can be ensured by:

4 votes – Making cloth pads and infrastructure for care of cloth pads accessible to all – 11%
6 votes – Investing in R & D to make biodegradable disposable pads – 17%
4 votes – Giving women a choice in the use of products but ensuring that they take responsibility for safe disposal – 11%
2 votes – Amending MSW Rules 2015 for proper management of absorbent hygiene product waste – 6%
19 votes – All of the above – 54%

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