In India, menstruation, even in this day and age, is considered taboo. Moreover, the talk or the conversation of it is rendered shameful, and many even see this natural anatomical cycle as a curse or an impurity upon a female. This lack of awareness and misinformation amongst a large chunk of our population makes situations even worse.
A 2016 report titled ‘Menstrual Health in India’ showcased that 71% of the 355 million adolescent girls researched had no information about menstruation before their first period.
Coupled with no appropriate education nor the necessary preparedness only negatively affects the overall menstrual health and hygiene of these adolescent girls going through this phase in life.
The fight against the lack of menstrual hygiene in India is nothing new. It has been a challenging development issue for decades now, and even though there is progress being made slowly, in terms of education and accessibility of menstruation products, there is a lot more work to be done.
To put things into perspective; the National Family and Health Survey reported that out of around 336 million menstruating women in the country just 58% use sanitary pads, further portraying the current menstrual landscape in India that needs further improvements.
The past decade saw the government and other organisations finally turn their attention to the much-needed Menstrual Hygiene Management. The new health policies over the decade have all in some way or the other helped rescue the poor numbers in this health category.
The latest National Family and Health survey saw a significant 46% increase in menstruating women adopting the use of sanitary pads as compared to the 2010 survey conducted by the Plan and AC Nielsen Study.
Another massive win is the 12% tax exemption on sanitary products in 2018 after months of campaigning by determined activists. Though these are milestones in the right direction, Menstrual Hygiene Management in India is still very much in the preliminary phase.
With the de-stigmatization of menstruation still very much at the centre of the fight, the government and numerous Non-Profit Organizations have taken initiatives to raise awareness and provide the needed education, along with ensuring that girls and women can afford and manage their periods healthily and hygienically.
SOQO is India’s first 100% ethically homegrown period lingerie which offers carefree confidence, comfort, and protection from leaks and stains at all times — to everyone with a vagina.
The start-up launched 1st of September 2021, the founding team also included one of many talented alumni of Jagran Lakecity University like Annanya Shinde, Akrati Malviya and Piyush Bhalotia. The start-up upon ideation was incubated at IIM Bangalore and has received a grant of INR 1 Lac from Eklavya Foundation via one of IIM Ahmedabad’s professor.
SOQO is India’s only highly-absorbent period underwear ethically designed for Indian bodies of all sizes. It’s Caviar High Waist Leakproof Underwear is stylish, sustainable, functional and affordable made with soft and breathable Bamboo fabric along with our DRIP PROOF TECHNOLOGY, to provide total coverage absorbing blood, sweat, urine or vaginal leaks up to 5 sanitary pads worth.
SOQO (previously Manasā) started as the only organization of Central India working to educate rural and urban-rural women, to eradicate period poverty, raise menstrual awareness and break the stigma surrounding it. Their work has also been reported by esteemed dailies like Times Of India, Business Insider, Dainik Bhaskar and many more.
Considering the importance of menstrual education and safer periods, SOQO believes in the significant impact each menstrual cycle has on the planet. Which is why it started working towards a solution that was safe for both the people and the planet.
SOQO ( meaning absorb) aims to tackle modern sanitary issues of disposal and increasing carbon footprint in a much more sustainable way. SOQO is a new age company led by new age people with liberal and independent mindsets. Below are some of the values they truly believe in :
Empowering Women | A female-founded company encouraging women to unapologetically celebrate their bodies.
Support Local | Lingerie proudly and ethically Made in India.
100% Organic & Sustainable | Using only GOTS Certified fabrics to produce underwear free of any toxic substances.
Supporting Fair-trade | All the farmers and workers are paid fair wages under good working conditions while producing our period lingerie.
SOQO is a venture of Janvi along with the founding team who are alumni from Jagran Lakecity University. JLU has played a pivotal role, credited to the positive policies of the private university, support of the faculty, exposure to the industry and marketplace, and workshops with industry leaders.
Additionally, the team thanked Prof. Diwakar Shukla (Dean, Faculty of Journalism and Creative Studies) for encouraging students individually or collectively and going out of his way to help start their entrepreneurship ventures. Maybe this has reaped rewards as the university recently got the Diamond rating by QS I-Gauge, an international university rating agency. JLU scored a 100/100 in the entrepreneurship parameter, becoming the first university in Madhya Pradesh to receive this honour.