Aina Anirah, a Malaysian college student, has been able to pursue her dream she never thought possible because of the Malaysian Kotex #SHECAN Fund. Through the Kotex Malaysia website, the #SHECAN fund invited women to submit an online application with details about their passion and awarded winners with funding to turn their ambition into action. The money that Aina received is allowing her to pursue her dream of being a dancer, a brass ring that, for lack of money, would have been eternally out of her reach.
The Kotex #SHECAN fund is just one example of the Kotex “Period or Not, She Can” promise in action—a pledge to champion women’s progress by inspiring and empowering them where they live, work, and play.
Although Malaysia has the fourth-largest industrial market economy in Southeast Asia, many Malaysians see it as a patriarchal society that, for women, cultivates feelings of doubt about their abilities. Because of this, says Frenissa Lagman, K-C Malaysia marketing manager, many Malaysian women feel incapable of following their dreams. With this insight, the Kotex Malaysia team brainstormed ideas about the most relevant way to reach its consumers, ultimately creating a digital opportunity with a meaningful and compelling message to champion and inspire women. The result? The Kotex #SHECAN fund, an online campaign that kicked off in October 2018.
With the theme “Open Doors for Her,” the #SHECAN fund is using the Kotex website and social media to speak directly to Malaysian women and let them know that—period or not—Kotex believes they CAN: They’re capable, they’re industrious, and Kotex has their back. To back that up, the #SHECAN fund is igniting women to turn their ambition into reality through the right funding, support, and motivation. The digital campaign invites women to submit an online application detailing their passion, and a panel of judges review the entries, looking specifically to inspire more young women and girls to make strides in areas where women are currently underrepresented, such as the arts, education, and entrepreneurship. Winners are shortlisted and selected every 3 months, each receiving an award between RM7,000 and RM25,000.
The message has clearly resonated with Kotex customers and helped to reinvent the consumer relationship. Because of Kotex, the four latest recipients are using their awards to make a mark in the world.
- Artist Nawwar Shurkriah Ali, 34 is about to open her first solo art exhibition to provide a visual insight to mental health issues. Nawwar believes that no one’s past should ever stop them from chasing their dreams.
- A full time Masters student and researcher Atiqah Abdul Rahim, 25, plans to publish a book on her findings on Hansen’s disease to highlight the struggles of former sufferers and erase the stigma around leprosy.
- Nur Adzratull Iffah, 20 the youngest winner of the She Can Fund first round awards, believes helping others has always been her calling and plans to work at a special needs school in Jakarta via an AIESEC Malaysia volunteer program.
- Aina Anirah, the aspiring dancer, will finally be able to afford dance lessons so she can hone her skills. For Aina, dancing ignites her inner flame, makes her feel alive and most importantly, makes her feel like, her.
- Batik Boutique is a social enterprise created to disrupt the cycle of poverty in Malaysia. They train women to design and produce fashion accessories made from traditional fabric called Batik. As SheCanFund winners, their collection will be presented at the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week in Malaysia. This inspired a new limited edition Kotex package design.
So far, the #SHECAN fund campaign is succeeding at creating meaningful relationships to serve consumers better and champion women’s progress. It’s led to inspirational videos of Malaysia women who ha ve broken social boundaries to pursue their dreams, organic media coverage in excess of 1 million in Malaysian currency, social media posts generating more than a thousand shares as well as YouTube influencers touting the program—with double the social media engagement compared to regular posts. Outside of the digital world, one #SHECAN fund winner designed a limited edition Batik packaging to create greater relevance in the marketplace, while another winner debuted her clothing collection during Kuala Lumpur’s fashion week.
Through a simple yet innovative digital platform, the #SHECAN fund has motivated women to pursue their passion and succeeded at spreading the She Can spirit in Malaysia—helping transform “She Can” into “She Did.”
“Dancing has made me happier and more confident,” says Aina. “It has pushed me to be better every day, and no matter who says otherwise, I am confident that a hijabi girl has a place in contemporary dancing.”