The Scoop: While menstrual products are widely accessible throughout most of the developed world, that is not the case everywhere else. Many girls and women in underdeveloped areas don’t feel comfortable going to school or work because they don’t have access to hygienic menstrual products. Be Girl is on a mission to make period protection radically accessible for every female no matter where they live. Be Girl offers high-quality reusable menstrual products, and the company provides menstruation education to women and girls throughout the world.
For many girls and women, especially in rural and developing nations, menstruation is a significant problem. Some don’t even feel comfortable going to school or work because they don’t have access to menstrual products to keep them hygienic and clean.
Others may feel pressured by their parents or other members of their community to stay home because of the stigma, or worry that they may make a mess.
Many of those women and girls want to overcome the barrier of their menstrual cycle as they struggle to find a foothold in society, and Be Girl intends to offer them a boost.
“Being a woman is so hard. We have so many barriers around the world. Having a period shouldn’t be one of them,” said Tatiana Reyes Jove, Be Girl Vice President of Operations and Marketing. “We want to bring equity into the conversation around periods. We want to make it affordable, sustainable, and change the narrative around periods, particularly in places where they are holding people back.”
To accomplish that, the company sells a unique line of high-quality, reusable menstrual products. Its sales in the United States make it possible for Be Girl to offer the same quality products and menstruation education to women and girls around the world who lack access.
From Uganda and Mozambique to the rural communities without stores that sell reasonably priced products, the Be Girl team is on a mission to make a difference in the lives of all women and girls.
Making High-Quality Products Available Everywhere
Be Girl started in 2014 when the CEO Diana Sierra was working in Uganda. While she was there earning her master’s degree and teaching artisan skills to women, Diana noticed a trend. Many of the women refused to show up to her workshops at certain times of the month.
When she dug deeper, Diana learned that these women didn’t have access to menstrual products that would allow them to go outside their homes. What was healthy and normal for women on the other side of the globe was a cause for shame in Uganda. That’s why Diana decided to do something about it.
She created a prototype of the original menstrual product that Be Girl now sells. At first, she used mosquito netting and material from old umbrellas to create a menstrual pad with a pocket technology. It allowed women and girls to insert a reusable material, like a cloth or a liner, or use paper towels or other disposable absorbent materials.
“It’s got the convenience of being disposable with the durability of a reusable,” Tatiana said. “Our products were specifically designed for women and girls in low-income settings because of our founder’s experiences in Uganda.”
The prototype was tested in Tanzania and Uganda, where Diana gathered data and surveyed users. One girl said that she was so honored that someone thought to develop the product just for her, and she said it made her proud to be a girl.
“When Diana read that testimonial, that’s when everything changed, and she knew this would be her life’s calling,” Tatiana said. “The next day, she quit her job and got everything rolling.”
Bringing Period Products to Markets Around the World
Many menstrual products sold in rural areas of certain countries are of low quality. They may cause rashes, leak, or even fall apart before the day is over. But the team at Be Girl aims to make high-quality products available to every woman and girl.
The original Flexipad, based on the first product Diana created, is made from ripstop nylon, which is the same material used to make parachutes. The product has a pocket that holds either a Be Girl microfiber towel or anything that can absorb the blood.
The Flexipad comes in two sizes: small, which fits like a traditional sanitary pad, or large for using overnight or on heavy flow days. The large Flexipad is also a good option for postpartum mothers. The products come with one microfiber towel insert, which can be washed and dried and can last up to two years.
Another popular product is the menstrual cup, which can be worn for up to 12 hours for leak-proof protection. The Be Girl’s FitCup is made of medical-grade silicone and comes with a sanitizing case. The sanitizing case allows users to clean and sanitize the FitCup with boiling water and safely store it between cycles. Cups can last up to five years with proper care.
For those looking for a more active option, Be Girl offers the PeriodPanty Sport, which has the same universal pocket technology as the Flexipad built right into a pair of panties. It also comes with a microfiber towel insert but allows women to use any reusable or disposable absorbent item to catch the flow.
Be Girl: Purchases Fund Impact Work For Girls In Need
Be Girl helps women around the world by selling products in developed countries where not having to worry about a period is a luxury. Each sale supports the work the company does in developing nations make period products accessible and teach women and girls about their periods and how to care for them.
It may be surprising to learn that many girls have no idea that a period is related to pregnancy. As part of its educational program, the Be Girl team uses an analog menstrual tracker called the SmartCycle. It helps both girls and boys understand the entire menstrual cycle, not just the period.
“When girls understand their bodies and their cycles, they can navigate more complex conversations they’ll have to confront later on in life,” Tatiana said. “If you don’t understand how periods are connected to how you get pregnant, then you can’t avoid getting pregnant or try to get pregnant.”
Helping women of all ages stand equally in society is the underlying mission of the entire Be Girl team. The company has a team of 11 people spread out through the United States, Mozambique, and Colombia. Tatiana said that the high-achieving team of visionaries enjoys working together and making a difference.
They consider their work to be a social enterprise to help bring trustworthy reusable or disposable products to any female who needs it.
“We work hard to ensure that women and girls around the world have access to the same high-quality products that we work so hard to sell here in the U.S.,” she said. “Be Girl has very lofty dreams, and we want to be a top provider of sustainable menstrual products in underserved markets and a transformative force in positive public perception of menstruation.”