Founders of HANX condoms Farah and Sarah answer our ‘what it means to be a woman in 2018’ Q&A, to mark 100 years of suffrage. The Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed on 6 February 1918.
Farah Kabir & Sarah Welsh Q&A
It’s been 100 years since (some) women were granted the right to vote in the UK – how far do you think women have come in the last century?
I think we have come far however there is still a lot more to be done in terms of women’s rights. We owe a lot to the women in history who have paved the way and also owe it to them to continue fighting for equality. Recent cases such as the “me too” movement and the pay rise scandal, only highlight that there is still a significant inequality. However this is hope, given that more and more women are rightfully vocalising such issues.
What does it mean to be a woman in 2018?
As millennial women, here in 2018 being a woman means feeling empowered. Empowered to take control of all aspects of our lives; not taking no for an answer and striving to succeed to leave a legacy for future females.
What do women still need to achieve?
Despite great strides in women’s rights, there are still inequalities which exist around the world, especially in places where women are not allowed to have a voice. Sarah and I believe that women around the world should have a platform that allows them to speak freely to work on better access to education, health and choice – all of which still needs to be achieved globally.
Women still face adversity for taking control of their sexual health, and often seen as promiscuous for carrying condoms. We felt that, in this day in age, there should be a clear option for stylish and savvy women who believe in pride and protection.
Your personal proudest achievement?
Sarah and I are personally proud of HANX. To tell your family that you plan on leaving your respectable careers in investment banking and medicine to create condoms was a real hurdle! However we were both so passionate about providing for women and disrupting behaviours around sexual health that we felt it was something we had to pursue. There are no other condom brands that empower women in Europe. And it’s 2018?! We have worked tirelessly to bring the product to launch and it has been worth all the sweat and tears. We receive emails daily from men and women saying that our brand has been what they are looking for, or that they were looking for a vegan option, or needed a choice less garish whilst they come off hormonal contraceptives, or that the subscription service is perfectly convenient… These moments of gratitude from customers are what keeps us going, knowing we are making a difference, slowly but surely.
If you could teach young women one thing about being a woman it would be…
Trust your gut. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you cannot do something because you are a woman or because it’s not culturally acceptable. Use that criticism as fuel for success in proving that you can be anything you want to be.
And if you could teach young men one thing…
Believe in women! Support your sisters, girlfriends, wives and mothers. We need men just as much as we do women and by having men who can act as an ally and promote equality, can we really make greater strides for women.
Complete the following:
In the next 100 years, I hope women will…
Will be proud to take control of their sexual health without shame or embarrassment and that condoms are carried freely and confidently, without a woman feeling or being perceived as promiscuous.
Farah and Sara are the founder of HANX Condoms, the first luxury vegan condom designed for women, by women. The brand is collaborating with Coco De Mer to bring adults a sex education class with Cosmopolitan’s Paisley Gilmour in London on the 17 April. Tickets bookable through coco-de-mer.com.