Kenyan Women are Rallying Online to Demand Better Quality Sanitary Products
Several Kenyan women believe they are sold "substandard" products compared to women in America and Europe, and are sharing their stories using the hashtag #MyAlwaysExperience.
Since yesterday, Kenyan women have taken to Twitter to express outrage at what they believe is the prejudicial selling of substandard sanitary products in their country.
Several women have taken to social media to express discontent with sanitary products sold by the international brand Always—a company under Proctor and Gamble (P&G)—with some claiming that they have suffered from chaffing, rashes and infections after using their products. Some women shared side-by-side images and videos, comparing pads sold in Kenya with those sold in the U.S. and Europe.
Women began sharing their sanitary pad horror stories yesterday on Twitter, using the hashtag #MyAlwaysExperience and it quickly began trending. Women from other African countries, like neighboring Tanzania and Ethiopia also shared similar complaints about the products. "We have similar experiences in Tanzania," wrote Twitter user LisAshuraBaraba "My friends from a young age would complain of the chaffing, allergies, infections, sales on expired products and differences with other markets. When new competitors came along they shifted quickly. We don't even have a local office."
One woman, by the name of Scheaffer Okore, shared a list of ways that the company can improve their products to better serve the needs of women in Kenya, including making "pads for humid weather" and stop "scenting pads."
Following the uproar, Always Kenya released a statement on Twitter, denying that it sells a lower quality product to Kenyan buyers. "The Always Ultra pads we have in Kenya are similar to the Always pads in other parts of the world, including Germany, UK, US, South Africa." Adding that all of their products are manufactures in Europe and the US.
However, the company's response did not do much in the way of appeasing Kenyan customers, who remain unwavering in their demand for better quality products.
Many called on the brand to reexamine their standards, while others are urging the government to support local businesses within the country instead of allowing international brands to control the market.
The online movement has received the attention of P&G and warranted an investigation into their products by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards. These actions have led several participants and observers to call #MyAlwaysExperience an example of when "hashtag activism" and social media uproar can prove effective.