Profile: Elizabeth Scharpf Seeks Affordable Solutions to Women’s Hygiene

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government graduate Elizabeth Scharpf, 35, appears confident with a warm smile. These attributes no doubt come in handy when Scharpf travels the world to raise awareness about a subject that most people don’t often discuss: menstruation.

Specifically, she discusses the challenges that women and girls face in low income countries when they get their monthly period. “When I first started talking about this issue I’d get puzzled looks,” said Scharpf. “Menstrual hygiene is not really at the top of the global health priority list,” though she thinks that’s the kind of thing social entrepreneurship should be addressing.

For women in the United States and other developed nations who usually have access to bathrooms and a wide variety of sanitary products, a period might be an inconvenience but it rarely impedes their daily lives. It’s a different story, though, for many women and girls in low-income countries. A lack of affordable sanitary products and few restroom facilities can lead to numerous days of missed work and school.

Source: PBS NewsHour (link opens in a new window)

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