Egal, a company dedicated to achieving equality for periods in restrooms, is launching a new menstrual pad that will be as easily accessible as toilet paper. Despite 300 million people menstruating daily, the unpredictability of periods and lack of access to period products can result in embarrassment, missed work or school. Egal is launching its product with $1 million investment angel funding, making it easier than ever to provide free period products with the first and only bathroom in-stall solution. Egal pads come in roll form with 40 on each roll and can be mounted on existing toilet paper dispensers or in Egal’s custom-designed dispensers. They are located inside each stall next to the toilet paper and are available when and where they are needed.
Traditionally, pads or tampons are provided in vending machines out by the sink, which is not a useful location, and those machines are often empty or jammed. Egal pads are less expensive to maintain than products in vending machines because they are easy to refill and require less space and packaging.
Penelope Finnie, CEO of Egal, stated, “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. 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.”
The problem with periods is significant. According to a study by the Free the Tampon Foundation, nearly 62% of women immediately made an unplanned trip to the store because they lacked period products, and 79% have used toilet paper or unhygienic alternatives when faced with a lack of access to period products in public bathrooms. The State of the Period study by Thinx and PERIOD found that 25% of surveyed teenagers who menstruate missed class because they had no access to tampons or pads. Additionally, the World Bank estimates that 500 million women and girls globally experience period poverty or lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities needed to manage their menstrual hygiene.
Recently, there has been nationwide and global demand to mandate free period products in public bathrooms. In the United States, more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have mandated or made funds available for period products to be free in public schools. Ann Arbor, Mich. is the first city to require free period products in all public buildings. California has a proposed bill to require free products in workplace and state buildings. Last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for anyone who needs them. Other countries with similar period legislation include Australia, England, France, New Zealand, and the city of Seoul, South Korea.
Tom Devlin, Egal’s founder and chief technology officer, said, “Egal means equal. We believe providing period products in the restroom is about gender equality. After all, periods are just another bodily function. Public bathrooms provide toilet paper, towels, soap, and tissues. Why not pads?”
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.
In 2022, Egal’s Pads on a Roll won the Hygienix Innovation Award.