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Nicole Jizhar: Raising Reproductive Health Awareness with Nona Woman

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

As we are approaching Kartini’s day, Stellar Women will be interviewing several inspiring women. We kick off this series by interviewing Nicole Jizhar. She is the co-founder of Nona Woman and Executive Vice President of MODENA. In 2021, Nicole and Monica Pranatajaya founded Nona Woman, a femcare startup. We will deep dive into Nicole’s work with Nona Women, women’s health, her personal experience, and her aspirations. Let’s start our conversation with Nicole!

Hi Nicole, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m the co-founder and CEO of Nona Woman and also Executive Vice President of MODENA. Nona Woman is a femcare startup that aims to provide better menstrual care and education in Indonesia. Our mission is to break the stigma about periods and raise reproductive health awareness in the country. I’m also a certified women’s holistic health coach, and an advocate for women’s empowerment!

Before that, I worked in finance at JP Morgan in New York, and studied at Wharton for my undergraduate in Finance and at London Business School for my MBA in management. On the side, I’m also now the President of the Penn Wharton Club of Indonesia

Would you tell us how and why you started building Nona Woman?

My Co-founder, Monica Pranatajaya, and I were in London doing our Masters, when we realized we wanted to start a social enterprise venture that can give back to society back home. A cause that we deeply cared about was women’s rights and reproductive health. We realized that we were very privileged to be able to talk freely and proudly about our bodies, while many women in Indonesia still feel ashamed about their periods and sexual health. We wanted to change that. Monica and I both interned at femtech startups in London to learn about the industry before launching Nona Woman.

How raising awareness around women’s health will get us closer to achieving gender equality?

Gender equality is not possible without increasing awareness about women’s health. Simply put, period poverty is the lack of access to women’s health education, period care, and hygienic sanitary facilities. Today, 1 out of every 3 women in Indonesia are in period poverty. That means they might not have access to the proper care or awareness to do something when they have period issues (from leaks, to cramps, and worse!)... So when girls face these issues, they might skip school, or skip work… And when we miss out on opportunities in the education system or workforce, we might miss out on our careers compared to men. That’s why it’s important to understand our women’s health and bodies, so that we can use it to our advantage in both our professional and personal lives.

So you are running Nona Woman while working as Executive Vice President at MODENA? Wow! What are your productivity hacks in doing both splendidly?

I’m definitely not perfect and it takes a lot of balance and self-awareness! One of the biggest hacks to being productive is to have enough rest. When it comes to hormones, stress is the biggest enemy, so rest is just as important to me as productivity - they are two sides of the same coin! That’s why I make sure to delegate and mentor my team to achieve our goals together, to find things that recharge me, and also to find a great support system of family and friends.

Can you share a pivotal moment in your entrepreneurial journey where you felt empowered by Kartini's legacy?

At Nona, we are empowered by Kartini everyday. She is the OG Nona Woman! We make sure to celebrate Kartini Day every year with our community. In fact, we launched Nona Woman on March 8, 2021 (International Women’s Day) with the soul of Kartini to advocate for all girls and women in Indonesia. Kartini’s philosophy and message are at the very heart of everything we do at Nona!

What do you think are some of the most significant barriers faced by women entrepreneurs today, and how can celebrating Kartini's Day help address these challenges?

One self-made barrier I see is the scarcity mindset among women. Because we are often minorities, it seems like there is less space for women at the table, and that may result in a competitiveness, when instead we should be supporting and lifting each other up. So in true Kartini spirit, I think women have to celebrate and empower each other so we can all achieve greater things together.

Can you share a meaningful personal experience from your journey as a woman business owner?

Wow, there are so many. The simplest thing that keeps me and my co-founders motivated is receiving comments and messages from the women in our community that we made an impact on them. We have a period tracker app to help educate about balancing hormones throughout our menstrual cycles, and we often receive DMs from women who want to celebrate that their periods are less painful or that they have become pregnant! Impacting our community is what drives us to keep going. We also do a lot of community initiatives, including regular pad donations and webinars to remote areas across the country. Everything we do is for the women in our country!

As a female entrepreneur, how do you think the spirit of Kartini's Day can inspire future generations of women to pursue their dreams and challenge societal norms?

Don’t let anyone stop you or doubt you. Even when you feel a lot of resistance or disappointment, know what you believe in and fight for it with your truest and most innate female power.

What’s your message to other fellow women regarding empowering ourselves as women like what Kartini did?

Believe we can do anything! Also, harness that power of being a woman to supercharge you. Many women think that our bodies (and periods) are a barrier and nuisance. But in fact, being more in tune with our womanhood, including and especially our female bodies, can truly help us biohack and supercharge ourselves in everything we do. Head over to Nona Woman where we talk a lot more about how we can use our menstrual cycles to become our powerhouse!

Persiapkan dirimu menjadi Kartini modern! Beli paket belajar spesial di hari Kartini sekarang!


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