Transforming Women’s Wellness in India

Like many of my peers, I was caught in a dilemma when deciding what to do for my summer internship. Was I to work at a company with a well-known brand name that would help me ease the burdens of a student loan and set me up for success during full-time recruitment? Or was I to take risks and try something I had never done before but always wanted to? With the help of the Hoffmann Institute Impact Internship stipend, I was able to do the latter.

The Indian market had always intrigued me, especially being someone of Indian origin who hadn’t had the opportunity to work there before. I grew up in Singapore and enjoyed the perks of a first-world country, yet at the same time I recognised my privilege and always had the desire to one day work to progress communities in an emerging market like India.

I came across Nua Woman when speaking with a fellow INSEAD-er who worked on a project with them and quickly realised that their mission strongly resonated with me. Nua is transforming the women’s wellness space in India by striving to create a strong and extensive community of women and raise awareness on stigmatised topics such as menstrual wellness. Their products allow women to better understand the need for self-care, especially because this often goes neglected in India.

They also engage in initiatives to support women in rural and low-income parts of India. This was very important to me because I was aware that many young women in India have limited access to menstrual education and basic sanitary products (the adoption of sanitary napkins is <20%), and this has just been exacerbated by social conditioning that has developed a culture of silence. Up to 2021, Nua had led various initiatives impacting more than 40,000 women across India through raising awareness on menstrual hygiene and distributing menstrual hygiene kits.

One of the main initiatives I worked on while I was at Nua was to define and further their social impact agenda for 2022 and beyond such that they could make lasting and far-reaching impact on women at scale.

This involved us defining our target beneficiaries, identifying potential NGO partners, as well as scoping out feasible operating models. It was a great learning opportunity for me as I interacted with numerous NGOs to learn about the women’s social impact landscape in India. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the C-suite, lawyers and auditors to iron out the more technical aspects of the initiative. I had never done something like this before so I was pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to pick up knowledge quickly to create impact.

Overall, it was a truly enriching experience. In addition to contributing to an important social cause, I got to experiment working with a start-up in a city that I had never been to before and in a sector I had never imagined having the opportunity to work in.