Kathy Walkling is the co-founder of Eco Femme, a women-led social enterprise working to create environmental and social change by promoting menstrual practices that are healthy, dignified, affordable and eco-positive. Kathy heads Eco Femme’s research and not-for-profit menstrual health education and pad distribution programmes, Pad for Pad and Pads for Sisters.
Originally from Australia, Kathy moved to the international community of Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India in 1997. Grounded in Auroville’s commitment to human unity and sustainable living, her passion for care of the earth and the sacred feminine were well-nourished, giving rise to Eco Femme in 2010.
Jessamijn Miedema is the co-founder of Eco Femme, a women-led social enterprise working to create environmental and social change by promoting menstrual practices that are healthy, dignified, affordable and eco-positive. Jessamijn leads Eco Femme’s commercial team; overseeing sales, production and manufacturing, retailers (both Indian and international), product research and development, organic certification and campaigns.
Originally from the Netherlands, Jessamijn spent a large part of her childhood in Sumba, a rural island community in Indonesia. Here, she grew up around her mother stitching cloth pads alongside local women and girls as part of local development projects. When she moved to Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India, it was a natural progression to revive this work with Eco Femme, given her passion for socially and environmentally responsible development.
The seeds for Eco Femme were planted long before it was founded as a social enterprise in 2010. On moving to India, Kathy was confronted by the issue of menstrual waste and recalls her shock at having to bury her menstrual pads in a hole in the ground. Suddenly, this waste which had previously been conveniently taken “away” by waste management services was exposed. The discovery of cloth pads several years later was a welcome solution and Kathy immediately started stitching cloth pads for herself and others in the Auroville community.
Over the years, Eco Femme’s not-for-profit activities have expanded to include the Pads for Sisters (P4S) programme which supports women from low income backgrounds in India to access subsidised cloth pads and menstral health education; a thriving global Ambassador Network of passionate volunteers; a Training of Trainers programme for partners across India, as well as diverse consultancy and research projects.
Today, our journey continues to unfold in unexpected, thought-provoking and heart- stretching ways. Together, with our growing community of partners, volunteers and ambassadors all around the world we continue to work towards revaluing menstruation and empowering women to feel connected to themselves, one another and the earth!
For more information about Eco Femme, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us at @ecofemme.