When it comes to urination, especially when bathroom conditions are less than ideal, it’s hard to deny that men simply have it easier. But a Delhi startup is aiming to level the playing field by giving Indian women a new option for relieving themselves.
That option is the PeeBuddy. Made from coated, waterproof paper, these single-use funnels allow women to urinate while standing up, allowing them to use a toilet that is dirty in a more hygienic way.
The funnels, which debuted last year, were recently featured by the BBC. The channel noted that, while men in India often relieve themselves in public, it can be difficult for a woman to find a bathroom to use while going about their day. Even when they find a public bathroom, it is often dirty. So, many women choose instead to avoid drinking much water during the day or they hold it for hours, both of which can lead to health complications.
The funnels cost 375 rupees (less than $6) for a 20-pack and appear to be a hit with many women. One told BBC, "The kind of feeling of freedom and liberation that I got, it was amazing."
Still, brick-and-mortar stores have been slow to take to PeeBuddy, perhaps due to trepidations related to the product’s unusual name. YourStory.com reports online retailers like Amazon India were largely responsible for the 20,000 packs already sold through this April. The startup is also in talks with various corporations with the aim of making them more widely available, like sanitary napkins already are, according to FirstPost.com.
A number of entrepreneurs in other countries have also created products to help women urinate standing up, though often at a higher price point that is less accessible to the majority of Indian women. The reusable, silicone GoGirl costs $9.99 apiece, while the Shewee device goes for $12. Another disposable, coated-paper funnel, the Pee Pocket, sells for $24.99 for a 48-pack, though they are also sold with a hygienic tissue wipe and a disposable bag.
For women in India and many other parts of the world, simply using the bathroom can be an intimidating, even life-threatening experience. Across India, more than half of the population -- a total of more than 600 million people -- don’t have access to private toilets.