New Delhi, Delhi, India, 4th October, 2019: Procter & Gamble (P&G) today pledged to extend the impact of its flagship educational ‘Mother-Daughter Menstrual Health & Hygiene’ program to 5 Crore girls by the end of 2022. Madhusudan Gopalan, MD & CEO, P&G South Asia, announced this commitment during a session on ‘Ending Menstrual Taboos’ at the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019. He also invited government, corporates, NGOs, media and entertainment sector to collaborate on increasing awareness, acceptance and access of hygienic menstruation practices in India.
Speaking at the event Madhusudan Gopalan, MD & CEO, P&G South Asia said, “Over the past three decades, we have educated more than 2.5 crore girls in India on menstrual hygiene through our ‘Mother-Daughter Menstrual Health & Hygiene Program’. We pledge to double this impact in the next four years and educate over 5 crore adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene by 2022. This is in line with our efforts to increase awareness and acceptance of healthy menstruation practices, and our vision to achieve 100% menstrual hygiene in India. When we started our journey in India three decades ago, the number of women using sanitary protection was less than 1 crore. Our efforts to create awareness and education have been critical to increase this number to more than 7 crore women today.”
Madhusudan also emphasized that multi-stakeholder partnerships is imperative to achieve 100% menstrual hygiene, “Less than 20% women in India follow menstrual hygiene practices; even in urban India, the adoption is only around 50%. Awareness, acceptance and access are the biggest barriers to achieving 100% menstrual hygiene. The Government, Corporates, NGOs, media & entertainment sector each have unique strengths, and we must collaborate towards this common goal to achieve 100% menstrual hygiene in the country.”
P&G through its brand Whisper began the journey to normalize menstruation in India about 3 decades back; it was the first brand to show a sanitary pad, and the first to mention the word ‘periods’ in advertising. At that time, when the brand wanted to advertise on prime time, TV channels thought it was an inappropriate product to advertise. Whisper then got special permission, to become the first sanitary pad brand to advertise on prime time on Indian Television.
The company is renowned for taking menstrual taboos head-on. Back in 2014, Whisper’s widely acclaimed award-winning #TouchThePickle, was one of the first campaigns where any brand or institution in India, took on the taboos surrounding periods at a mass scale. The campaign not only sparked conversations on period taboos but also drove acceptance of this conversation among the older generation which is supposedly the most immersed in these deep-rooted traditions and taboos. Since then, the brand has come up with many campaigns such as #LikeAGirl, #SitImproper, #MeriLifeMereRules, that break societal taboos on periods.