Mary Kenner: Meet the lady who invented sanitary pads

Mary Kenner: Meet the lady who invented sanitary pads
Mary Kenner: Meet the lady who invented sanitary pads

Mary Kenner: Meet the lady who invented sanitary pads

One of the major inconveniences a lady faces each month is getting her period.

Now imagine having your period and then there are no sanitary pads. Imagine if the only options you had were rags, cloth or even leaves to use for your period.

As awful as this sounds, this was the situation years ago before a black woman, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, decided it was time for a change and that was how she invented sanitary pads.

Born on November 14, 1881, in Quebec, Canada, Kenner from a young age was always coming up with creative solutions to problems. She was only six when she attempted to invent a self-oiling door hinge.

Kenner grew up in a time when menstrual hygiene products were rudimentary or non-existent. Women at the time would fold rags and use them for their period. She recognised this problem and felt compelled to find a solution in the form of the first disposable menstrual pad.

She used a soft, absorbent material that could be easily disposed of after use to make the new pads. This marked a turning point in menstrual hygiene, providing women with a more convenient and hygienic option.

Kenner during her time met with lots of challenges. She faced racism and resistance from society. This was because at the time, it was quite uncomfortable discussing menstruation openly and then since she was black and broke at some point, she had issues patenting her invention.

However, her determination and belief in the importance of her creation drove her forward and today, her innovation laid the foundation for the modern sanitary pad industry, which continues to evolve and improve to this day.

Kenner passed away on January 13, 2006 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 93. She never received awards, fame or wealth during her lifetime, but her invention remains a testament to the power of innovation and determination in addressing critical issues that affect women’s health.

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