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Zebra company Spacerpad AB aims to improve menstrual health worldwide with its innovation

Access to affordable and sustainable menstrual hygiene is key to improving menstrual health. Menstrual health is important for several reasons and impacts various aspects of individual and societal well-being such as physical health, mental and emotional well-being, education, economic impact, and social inclusion. Karin Högberg, founder and CEO of Spacerpad AB, is passionate about making a difference through her sustainable, innovative menstrual products!

"We deliver a solution to global period poverty!" says Karin, and continues, "We do this by enabling local production of an innovative menstrual product, a pad that mimics the design of a menstrual cup. The similarity to a menstrual cup means that the pad is very easy to clean and quick-drying, ensuring good hygiene when reused - regardless of access to WASH facilities."

Karin Högberg graduated with a PhD in Nursing Science in 2015 from Jönköping University at the School of Health Sciences, Working Life and Welfare, University of Borås; and has since been working on developing the company Spacerpad AB.

The vision is to create equitable, safe, and sustainable menstrual hygiene for all menstruators, ensuring everyone's right to menstrual health regardless of socioeconomic status. The company's primary drive for societal change, rather than purely economic motives, makes it an Impact company, also known as a Zebra company.

"It's not easy to run an impact company even though it sounds both good and completely reasonable. Those with money are interested in money. As an impact company, you must deliver both profitability and other values. Preferably without the 'other values' costing too much. This requires smart business solutions, which means zebra companies must be extremely well thought out," says Karin.

In 2024, Spacerpad AB was admitted to the Zebra Impact Academy, the new acceleration program aimed at creating better conditions for companies and entrepreneurs with societal change as their strongest driving force.

"Because our company has been driven by a focus on impact, I have taken the 'good results' of our operations somewhat for granted. However, as a result of our time in the Zebra Impact Academy, I have learned that it is possible to be much clearer in how we report these 'good results.' Just as we can calculate turnover, etc., we can actually calculate the benefits we achieve."

What is the next step for Spacerpad AB?

"We are trying to quietly start our business based on the resources we have, while also acquiring proof-of-concept. We believe that if more individuals or stakeholders become aware of the benefits we can provide, more will also want to join and contribute!"

Zebra Impact Academy offers a tailored program where entrepreneurs can develop their offerings and clarify the societal value they generate. At the same time, they expand their networks for increased societal benefit and create economic sustainability as a bonus.

Why Spacerpad AB with its innovative solution is an example of a Zebra company - whose innovation can truly make a difference:

Physical health: Proper management of menstrual hygiene (MHM) is crucial to prevent infections and other health complications. Lack of access to menstrual products and clean facilities can lead to conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), reproductive infections, and even long-term reproductive health issues.

Mental and emotional well-being: Menstruation can affect mental health due to hormonal changes and physical discomfort. Access to necessary products and support can reduce stress and anxiety related to concerns about not being able to conceal menstruation. Not being able to feel safe and trust one's menstrual products creates significant anxiety. So much so that one would rather stay home than expose themselves to the risk of being discovered menstruating.

Education: Girls often miss school during their periods due to inadequate facilities and lack of menstrual products. This absence can affect their academic performance and long-term educational attainment. Ensuring access to menstrual hygiene can help keep girls in school, promoting gender equality in education.

Economic impact: Women and girls who have to miss work or school due to menstrual health problems can suffer financially. Providing affordable and sustainable menstrual products can help them continue to participate in educational and economic activities, contributing to overall economic growth.

Social inclusion: Menstrual health is linked to broader issues of gender equality and social inclusion. Addressing menstrual health challenges can reduce stigma and discrimination, enabling women and girls to participate more fully in society without shame or fear.

Human rights: Access to menstrual hygiene is a matter of dignity and human rights. Ensuring that all individuals can manage their menstruation safely and privately is crucial to upholding these rights.

Addressing menstrual health comprehensively involves education, access to products, sanitary facilities, and supportive policies, all of which contribute to the overall well-being and empowerment of women and girls.

Read more about Spacerpad here:

Read more about Zebra Impact Academy HERE


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