How is it possible that we live in an age where Elon Musk can launch a sports car into space just for a laugh yet no one seems able to figure out a cost-effective, easy-to-use, environmentally friendly way for women to manage their periods? Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and men were the ones bleeding from between their legs one week in every four – they'd have had it sorted years ago. And they sure wouldn't be paying tax for the privilege.
Periods are part of life but that doesn't stop them being a downright nuisance. And that's for those of us lucky enough to live in a developed country, where tampons and a packet of aspirin are only ever a quick trip to Boots away. In communities around the world, women and girls are obliged to make do with whatever comes to hand – sometimes scraps of dirty fabric – often within cultures that treat menstruating women as 'unclean' or 'untouchable' and force them to live apart from their families for the duration of their period. Even in the UK, there are women who simply do not have the money to pay for sanitary products.
It's clear we need a more affordable and sustainable solution. Enter: WUKA period wear. Founded by environmental scientist Ruby Raut, WUKA (which stands for Wake Up Kick Ass) makes ultra absorbent, machine-washable underwear that is designed to be worn throughout your period, eliminating the need for disposable sanitary products – and the mountains of waste they produce. WUKA claims that the pants, which cost £29.99 a pair and are available in sizes 6-20, can be worn for up to eight hours a day or all night long, and hold the equivalent of four tampons' worth of menstrual blood.
Too good to be true? We gave three members of Team R29 UK a pair of WUKA pants to try out during their period. Here's how they got on...