What Is the Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a period product that acts like a tampon or a pad. It is shaped like a tiny cup. It is inserted into the vagina like a tampon and collects menstrual blood. It can be inserted for up to 12 hours before one must wash it and insert it again. This means one might only have to change it twice a day. Unlike tampons and pads, menstrual cups do not contain any chemicals that might harm your health such as bleach and added scents, which can cause vulva irritation.
Cups like the Ruby Cup are made of smooth premium quality medical-grade silicone and are free from plastics, latex, toxins and bleaches. Menstrual cups like the Ruby Cups cost between $30-$50. Many cups last for several years. The Ruby Cup claims to last for up to 10 years with proper care. It would cost one at most between $120-$200 to use Ruby Cups throughout one’s entire menstruating lifetime from age 13-51.
Cost and Environmental Efficiency
According to the Huffington Post, menstruating individuals spend up to $1,773.33 on tampons throughout their lifetime. With the Ruby cup, one could save up to $1,653. That is 93 percent less than what one would normally spend on tampons throughout their menstruating lifetime. Furthermore, that person would be giving four girls access to the menstruating care they need to succeed.
Buying a Ruby Cup can also save the environment. Disposable menstruation products generate more than 200,000 tons of waste per year. These disposable products decompose at a rate of 500-800 years. In the span of 10 years, one cup produces an estimated .4 percent of the waste that single-use pads produce or 6 percent of that created by tampons. Furthermore, menstrual cups can be recycled.
How the Buy One, Give One Program Works
Period poverty is a great issue across the globe, especially in developing countries. Access to menstruation products is a challenge women in developing countries often face because they cannot afford to buy them. Because of their lack of healthy menstruation products, women resort to using rags, paper and other unsafe materials as hygiene products. This challenge can prohibit women from getting equal access to education and work. They sometimes choose to stay home from school because of embarrassment about their periods.
This program works by giving one menstrual cup for every cup bought to a girl in need of safe period products in a developing country. Think of this company like Tom’s, which gives a shoe to a child in need for every pair of shoes bought. Ruby Cup was the first menstrual cup brand to incorporate a social mission into its business model. It has been working with local organizations to fight period poverty since 2012. So far, the organization has donated more than 100,000 menstruation cups in 13 different countries.
Training and Education
Ruby Cup donations do not end with giving a girl a cup though. The Borgen Project interviewed Ruby Cup CEO Julie Weigaard Kjær. During an interview, Kjær remarked that “it’s not enough to just donate cups and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. To truly empower women to be able to manage their menstruation it is also necessary to provide education.”
Ruby Cup works with local partners to conduct training on how to manage their periods safely, use the Ruby Cup and dismantle dangerous and outdated beliefs about the female body. For example, some girls believe products like the Ruby Cup will break virginity, which is very important in many of the countries where Ruby Cup works. In addition to this training, the company also creates a social network to support girls to become champions of their periods. This network involves follow-ups about how using the Ruby Cup is going after three to six months. The company also importantly assures that people using the Ruby Cup have access to clean water and all they would need to use the Ruby Cup safely.
Impact of the Program
Eight out of 10 girls who go through the training continue to use the menstrual cup. In some cases, 80 percent of girls reported during the follow-ups that they were able to concentrate more in school. Kjær also remarked that one of the greatest successes of the program is a 40 percent decline in rape in a Uganda refugee camp because women were using the Ruby Cup. They no longer had to go to the community toilet at night to change their period hygiene product. Kjær commented on this saying, “it would be wrong to say that the cup is a solution to gender-based violence, but we were speechless at how it can have indirect impacts like this one.”
This cup is certainly making life-changing impacts. As it grows in popularity, it is sure to create even more change in the future. The Ruby Cup provides a safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to manage menstruation. Through the Buy One, Give One program. This organization is fighting period poverty around the world.
– Emily Oomen