Beyond COVID-19: How the manufacturing industry should prepare

Menstrual Hygiene Management at Workplace

FOCUS AREA

Building Holistic Health

LOCATION

National Capital Region, India

REACH

2 factories, 800 female workers

PARTNERS

University of Michigan, University of Hawaii, Shahi Exports

STAGE

DESIGN

EVALUATE

ANALYZE

DISSEMINATE

SCALE-UP

In a garment factory in NCR (India), only 200 free pads are being used per month from the factory dispensary by over 3,000 low-income women. It appears that workers continue to make less than ideal health choices with regard to menstrual hygiene.

Challenge

Understand the impact of low take-up of safe menstrual hygiene products at the workplace.

Design

  1. The Organizational Development wing at the firm conducted focus group discussions with over 150 women in NCR factories, covering topics such as myths and taboos, health and hygiene practices and products, and the impact of these on work. We learnt that creating safe spaces and comfort for women was most important to improve any related outcomes.
  2. Based on the insights from the FGDs, the department decided to make subsidized sanitary napkins available in the bathrooms through a vending machine, thus eliminating any human interaction. This provides proximity, promptness, and ease in availing menstrual products for workers amidst production pressure.
  3. A curated menstrual health management training was also provided to all female workers, along with their supervisors, both male and female.
  4. Further, we administered a comprehensive baseline survey to a randomly selected subset of workers to measure any change in outcome.
  5. We are currently evaluating this pilot. Specifically, we ask:
    • Does improved menstrual health:
    • Increase productivity and retention?
    • Reduce absenteeism due to menstruation?
    • Reduce stress levels and improve psychological wellbeing?
    • What is the price elasticity of demand of sanitary napkins and what are the corresponding adoption rates?

Scale up

The impact of menstrual health on women’s health outcomes or workplace outcomes, such as absenteeism, lacks evidence. Therefore, in an industry whose workforce is overwhelmingly female, there is opportunity to explore fitting interventions, which could yield business returns.

We aim to find the impact of this intervention on the wellbeing of workers and their workplace outcomes, such as productivity, absenteeism, etc.

The firm wants to develop a company-wide strategy, which goes beyond simply providing sanitary napkins in dispensaries. Our learnings from the pilot will help develop this strategy and create fitting interventions to improve health outcomes at the workplace. We intend to evaluate the same for business returns through rigorous research methods.

Image credits: Nayantara Parikh / Shalin Gor



Ann Arbor
701 Tappan Ave,
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, United States
Bengaluru Corporate Office
Bellandur Gate, Sarjapur Main Road
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560102,
India
Delhi NCR Corporate Office
F-88, Okhla Industrial Area Phase-1
New Delhi, Delhi 110023,
India
Medellin
University EAFIT
Medellin, Colombia