With ‘Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day’ round the corner, here is the story of two women entrepreneurs who are trying to carve safe spaces for women’s health. Breaking this stereotype are Khushali Samriya and Uttara Seshu, who have been working in different areas of women’s health such as Menstrual Health, Maternal Health to be able to explore voices and needs of women in the remotest parts of the country. Together, they co-founded Kara, a women’s health initiative that works to create safe spaces for women to talk about their reproductive health issues.
Breaking the glass ceiling
Delhi based Khushali Samriya, has been working in the space of women’s health for half a decade and has been the soul of the initiative. Samriya started her journey as an entrepreneur when she was just 24 and has worked in rural hinterlands of India. An experienced individual with a knack of solving complex and unnoticed problems around women’s health. With her engineering background, she aims to bridge the gap between voices of women and technology. ” From digital health tools to artificial intelligence, we can revolutionize the landscape of women’s health, championing progress with every keystroke. At Kara we aim to bring women’s health and technology together to ensure that no woman in this world ever loses her life because of basic life events like menstruation, pregnancy.” asserts Khushali.
US-based Uttara Seshu is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public Health at Penn State University and has been extremely passionate about women’s health issues. The 29-year-old has half a decade of experience in rural parts of Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh amongst others and is currently also working as a Graduate Research Assistant on pregnancy outcomes post COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, US. With her interdisciplinary background she aims to highlight the always neglected women’s health issues. She says, “Our aim is to ensure a life of dignity for women and girls by providing them reproductive knowledge and a platform such as Kara to voice their health issues.”
Time is ripe to explore uncharted territories in women’s health such as Menstruation. Women’s health and related issues have systematically suffered owing to years of ignorance. It is only after all these years that these issues are being given their due attention. Hence, Khushali and Uttara launched a campaign #Haqhai through their organization to tackle some of the issue of Period Leaves, that has made headlines over the last few months owing to the Petition filed in the Supreme Court of India. #Haqhai emphasizes the idea of period leave as a necessity. Khushali believes, “We need to start talking about Period leaves, there are studies that suggest the discomfort and pain women undergo during periods. Our campaign aims to normalize the conversation around period pain as we believe that a policy like this will give women the space the voice their opinion.” The campaign aims at mobilizing organizations across the country to be advocate for Period Leaves as a policy in India. This, they believe will create a needed space for women to speak which is ultimately what inhibits them the most to seek any healthcare knowledge or care. They believe, it is time that women stop popping pills to prove to the world their worth at the workplace or home!