We need to talk about periods. First of all, it’s still a topic that feels weird to a lot of women to talk openly about. But it’s something that is a part of most women’s lives each month. It’s not a secret how it works. So why is it uncomfortable to talk about?
Besides the obvious, there’s so much more to say about periods than we even realize. A little over a year ago, I started exploring the idea of tampons and pads made from organic cotton. I care very much that the food I eat is free from chemicals and other things that could harm me, so why shouldn’t I care about the cotton that I put in my body for 4-7 days a month? I was introduced to Cora, a brand specializing in organic cotton menstrual products. I loved the brand almost immediately because I thought so highly of their products. But the second I started reading about their cause, it just really moved me. For every purchase of their products they give back to people in poverty who can’t afford menstrual products.
Reading about everything they do around the world and in the US, I was incredibly moved to start learning everything I could about period poverty, a topic my privilege has allowed me to be somewhat blind to in the past. There are so many aspects to an issue that should seemingly NEVER be an issue. We’re all probably familiar with the tampon tax; the majority of US states tax tampons and pads like they are luxuries. Food stamps don’t cover menstrual items like pads or tampons, making it more difficult for people in poverty to access menstrual products.
When people with periods don’t have easy access to pads or tampons, they can’t maintain jobs and are more likely to remain in poverty. They can’t go to work when they are bleeding through all of their underwear, pants, dresses, etc. If they can’t access tampons or pads, they will resort to using washcloths, t-shirts, rags, or even diapers. It seems like such a simple part of our lives, but for others it’s making everything in their life so much harder than it has to be.
There are a few ways I’ve found to help women get access to menstrual products.
You can read more about period poverty in St. Louis in this article, which was published just this year. I also recommend watching Period End of Sentence on Netflix. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. It gives an incredible perspective of this problem in India.
To help out in St. Louis, visit the St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies. You can also support them by purchasing this this awesome t-shirt from Arch Apparel. 100% of the proceeds go to the St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies.
Donate menstrual products to any women’s shelters. After you Marie Kondo your house and have a ton of clothes to donate or if you make care packages at the holidays, be sure to include menstrual products in anything you donate.
We can all help this issue with such a small donation. If you have any other resources or organizations, please share them in the comments!