Using new menstrual technology for civic innovation

Category: Events| Sexuality Research Initiative (SRI)| Societal relevance

24 Feb 2016

By Clarisa Perullini & Luciana Comes, Maggacup, Argentina

In our presentation in the next session of the Dialogues on Civic Innovation research on 7 March 2016, we will be looking at the question: How the use of a new menstrual technology can produce social and environmental impacts?

Creating a new feminine habit through technological innovation Maggacup

The inception of the menstrual cup brings a disruption to a standing dominant behavioral pattern that has been imposed by market forces to women, which promotes the idea of consuming disposable products and rapidly getting rid of the ‘annoying issue’ of menstruation by simply wrapping it, absorbing it and throwing it to the garbage. Leaving the consequences of the disposability to another stakeholder: the environment.

With the cup, a woman has the possibility to alleviate the environmental impact caused by this way of managing menstruation and become part of the solution. The cup brings her the possibility to be in charge of the disposal of her own menstrual fluid. By being reusable, the cup offers a simple way to reduce the production of waste: the cup lasts for 5 years with the proper care, and costs the same as the average woman will spend on disposable sanitary protection in ten months.

What Cíclica does is helping women to navigate this change of paradigm, by promoting new interpretations and ways of managing the menstrual cycle.

New Caring Paradigm

“When we love, we care; and when we care, we love”

“Caring is the key category of the new paradigm of civilization that is struggling to emerge all over the world. Caring serves both to prevent future damage and to repair past damage”

Leonardo Boff

We promote three main levels of care that can trigger social and environmental change:

  1. Caring towards each person, encompasses care about the body, the mind and the spirit.

Caring about the body, implies self-care. Developing a better self-esteem and self-knowledge. How to maximize women’s optimal times in the menstrual cycle. The non-toxic and hypoallergenic silicone cup protects the body by inhibiting health risks.

Caring about the mind: this is a technology that promotes well-being and generates self-awareness. It helps re-telling the narratives about menstruation, replacing the rejection and embarrassment for acceptance and respect.

Caring about the spirit: we see the connection to the menstrual cycle as something sacred, not as something dirty or a waste, rather as something that strengthens and connects all women with life.

  1. Caring about the community

We are a B Corporation, whose motto is “to be the best FOR the world” and not “the best OF the world”.

We provide different kinds of trainings in order to create value and awareness of the importance of menstruation and its impact on health, education, the environment and the economy.

  1. Care about the environment

Besides reducing plastic waste production, in what has to do with the manufacture of the menstrual cups, no trees are cut or used. Plus none of our activities include animal testing.

With our sales we have already achieved to preserve (until February 2016) 14,000 m2 of the Misiones jungle with the help of the Forest Bank foundation. This is possible due to our commitment to make a donation to this foundation for each Maggacup that is purchased.

What Maggacup promotes

Maggacup offers workshops and programs to different sectors of our society: entrepreneurs’ festivals, cooperatives and educative institutions. To briefly name and explain a few:

The Heritage Love Cycle is a workshop about the menstrual cycle and its role in the construction of the feminine identity within the family system in a transgenerational level.

The “Blood life. Wisdom of Humanity” Where menstruation is explored from different artistic manifestations.

menstruation, menstrual technologies, civic innovation, India, protest

Learning that ‘Menstruation is not an illness’ (picture from a protest in Kolkata, India)

Menstru-action A program for students about sexual, reproductive and sustainable health.

Women’s Empowerment Program It is a strategy which is presented to the community through arts, communications and business tools.

We are developing the “Cíclica Observatory” on which we are making agreements with local universities to build and systematize knowledge about the experiences of women concerning a dignified management of menstrual health.

We are looking forward to discussing these ways to promote civic innovation through menstrual technology with you during the ISS Dialogue on 7 March!

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Christina Schiavoni

March 4th, 2016 at 12:48 am

This is fascinating, and I look forward to learning more about your work and your approach. In particular, I’m wondering about who uses your products – how accessible are they and how/to what extent are barriers being addressed? I ask because in the US where i am from, cups like these (although different brands) tend mainly to be used in activist and eco-conscious consumer circles. I always wondered about “bringing them to the massess” and I’m interested in any thoughts/efforts/proposals in that regard.

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Esteban Corio

March 5th, 2016 at 12:26 am

Dear Christina :
Thank you very much for your comment.

Adoption barriers can be overcome by defining the different user´s segments and the respective aggregated value that the product ( and, in our case, the services associated with the products) can render to those users.

Needless to say that eco-conscious and activist are among early adopters, but we´ve determined no less than 5 additional market segments , at least in our market.

For each of those segments, we have not only a specific value proposition , but also the proper sales channel to serve them.
It is not possible in this blog to upload a chart to give you a graphic mapping of this idea, but if you provide us with a mailbox, I can send you that engagement model.

Best,
Esteban Corio
Counseling Partner
Maggacup

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Tamara Megaw

March 8th, 2016 at 7:27 am

I am pleased that this blog shows a holistic approach to menstrual technologies, addressing individual, community and environmental levels. The costs of tampons/sanitary pads can be prohibitive for individuals to afford. The fossil fuels that go into producing the plastics in sanitary pads/tampons and landfill waste is born by the environment. Good to see that Maggacup provides a frugal alternative to this.
Tackling stigma is very challenging, and I’m interested if the workshops/programs reach both men and women in changing attitudes towards menstruation as a women’s problem. I would like to know what the diversity of experiences have been with Maggacup being introduced and received into different societies.

Avatar

Esteban Corio

March 8th, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Dear Tamara :
Thnak you very much for your comments. This is what is all about, bringing a solution with the less possible carbon footprint impact to the environment, and at the same time affordable and user friendly.
We have basically two programs that promote awareness of menstrual hygiene to different publics.
While the PEF ( Women Empowerment Program or Programa de Empoderamiento Femenino) is intented to adult woman communities ( from relegated communities to house wives and corporate employees) , theother program called Menstru-action has been developed for students between 8 and 17 , both girls and boys.
It´s a long way to go in terms of openes for most people to talk and discuss about this topic, but it´s a matter of persistence .
If you´d like to receive more information, just let me know.
Best,

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CIRI aims to scale up and identify synergies between existing research at ISS on civic agency and change agents, as drivers of societal change and development. This blog is a forum on which to share and discuss themes and issues which fall within the broad framework of the programme.

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