Integrating poverty alleviation and environmental protection efforts: A socio-ecological perspective on menstrual health management

Federica Angeli, Anand Kumar Jaiswal, Saumya Shrivastava

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Apt menstrual health management is crucial to the livelihood of low-income, bottom of the pyramid (BOP) women as well as to environmental conservation. However, knowledge is still scant about the factors underpinning women's preferences towards menstrual products, and whether and how the environmental impact of different solutions matter to women's choices. We address this gap by proposing a socio-ecological perspective to understand whether a product's low environmental impact enhances low-income women's uptake of sanitary napkins, thereby supporting poverty alleviation objectives but also efforts geared towards environmental protection. Results from a discrete-choice experiment involving 164 women (n = 1148) in two Indian slums in Delhi and Ahmedabad show that sanitary products' biodegradability is the most important attribute affecting women's preferences towards menstrual hygiene management solutions, which also significantly interacts with women's socio-economic and socio-cultural characteristics. Our findings highlight the potential for business models to find positive synergies between environmental protection and poverty alleviation goals and to situate solutions within the larger socio-ecological context of receiving communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115427
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date25 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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