As per the World Bank, nearly 500 million women and girls globally experience period poverty or lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities needed to manage their menstrual hygiene. Also, there has been nationwide and global demand to mandate free period products in public bathrooms in recent times. In the US, over 20 states have mandated or made funds available for period products to be free in public schools.
While pads or tampons are provided in vending machines out by the sink but it is not a useful location and often such machines are empty or jammed. This is where US-based Egal, a femtech startup, comes to the rescue with its mission to give periods equal treatment in the restroom.
In a recent development, Egal raised $1 million in investment in angel funding to launch a new menstrual pad that will be as accessible as toilet paper.
“I understand the humiliation and frustration when your period arrives and you don’t have the products you need. It’s very stressful and can throw off your whole day,” said Penelope Finnie, CEO of Egal. “Our goal with Egal pads is to be there where we are needed to help manage periods with confidence so users can be productive and successful moving forward.”
“Egal means equal. We believe providing period products in the restroom is about gender equality. After all, periods are just another bodily function,” said Tom Devlin, Egal’s founder and chief technology officer. “Public bathrooms provide toilet paper, towels, soap and tissues. Why not pads?”
Discreet menstrual product
Egal was founded in 2021 by Tom Devlin. It is designed for privacy, ease of use, and convenience in public bathroom stalls to handle unpredictable periods. Its flagship product is Pads on a Roll: a menstrual product that can be dispensed in the privacy of every public stall as easily as toilet paper. It requires little investment and is less expensive to operate when compared to vending machines placed near sinks.
Pads on a Roll are manufactured in roll form, 40 on each roll, so they can be mounted on existing toilet paper dispensers or in Egal’s custom-designed dispensers. Located inside each stall next to the toilet paper, the pads are available when and where they are needed.
The company is currently conducting pilot programs at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Vermont and Williams College. In addition, Egal Pads are being installed in Cambridge Public Schools and the Mother Caroline Academy and Education Center in Massachusetts, as well as select schools in Rhode Island. Outside the United States, Egal has installations at a private school in the United Kingdom and two schools in Rwanda.