[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet Anika Parashar, a disruptor in the women’s menstrual health space

Anika Parashar is the Founder of Mumbai-based The Woman’s Company, an organic wellness and hygiene products startup.

Sunday August 14, 2022,

3 min Read

Anika Parashar, CEO of The Woman's Company, recalls that during her pregnancy, she realised that there were a lot of issues pertaining to women’s health that was not talked about enough. She resigned from her job and started qualifying as a birth professional.

Fast forward a few years to when the former media and marketing professional’s daughter was hitting puberty, and Anika wondered whether the products available in the market were good enough for her.

In Anika’s words, The Woman’s Company was born “trying to find solutions for lakhs of women who felt their needs were not catered to, and for those who wanted their daughters and granddaughters to have long-term and viable solutions”.

Anika has been working in women's health for the last two decades, including with Fortis Healthcare, Mahindra & Mahindra, The National Childbirth Trust, BSKYB, Channel 4, and Old-World Hospitality.

Her passion, however, is building brands for women. She co-founded The Woman’s Company with Roopam Gupta on International Women’s Day, 2020.

“We make all our products - from pads and urination devices to menstrual cups and bamboo razors - in India. We contract manufacture, we lease out factories, and we have exclusivity arrangements. We own the IP (intellectual property) for the products so that we know what we're giving and what we're selling,” Anika says.

However, Anika did not have it easy. At one time, she was juggling multiple crises - she had to tend to her ailing mother, watch her brother slip into alcoholism, deal with a strained marriage, and resign from her job.

That’s when she decided to take a break, take a step back, and look at the bigger picture.

What kept her going?

“Everyone has to find what drives their passion, and for me, it's about finding out how many women are going to shift from plastic pads to biodegradable products. A few years back, there was an entire campaign on the elimination of plastic straws across the globe because plastic straws hurt sea turtles. But what about the fact that we, as women, wear plastic bags on us five days a week, every month, for 35 years? There's no global campaign happening on this?” Anika asks.

The single mom and entrepreneur leave us with some thoughts.

“I've had people say, ‘You're too young, you are a woman, you don't have the kind of time, how will you build this up? The idea is nice but the world is not ready for it.’ I don't want any woman out there to think that biases do not exist, they do. But they're all notions; we have to decide for ourselves. If I can sit here without parents, without a husband, and having raised my children on my own, brought my brother back to life, and sitting on the verge of my third entrepreneurial venture, who's to say what can happen?” Anika says.

Edited by Teja Lele