This month, King students are holding a period drive, accepting donations of period products and cash to benefit Stamford homeless shelter Pacific House. March is Women’s History Month, so until April, donation bins in advisory rooms will be found where students can leave pads, reusable pads, tampons, menstrual cups, as well as make monetary donations for those in need.
The drive was spearheaded by student leaders Hannah Cosgrove and Milei Wyatt after they started a branch of the PERIOD movement, an organization fighting for menstrual equality, affiliated with King’s Feminist Club. The club sponsored the initiative within the larger PERIOD organization. “Milei and I started to get involved with the PERIOD movement over the summer,” said Cosgrove. “This drive has been in the works since we began. Ms. Rossler, our club advisor, has played a large part in helping us coordinate the drive.”
“The PERIOD organization is a global non-profit group that aims to spread awareness and advocacy around the issue of period poverty,” she continued. With partners in 49 states and over 50 countries, the organization distributes period products to those in need, champions menstrual equality in policy, such as campaigning to abolish the tampon tax, and educates people on menstrual health. Challenging these obstacles helps destigmatize periods and provide greater access to menstrual hygiene and health. PERIOD is comprised of hundreds of youth chapter members, grassroots organizers, service partners, and partner organizations and companies worldwide.
Period poverty is an issue many people may not be familiar with, but its impact reaches worldwide. According to FIGO, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, up to 500 million people globally suffer from a lack of menstrual products, hygienic conditions, or proper education surrounding it. The cost of purchasing menstrual products is also a frequent obstacle faced by individuals who have periods. One in ten young people with periods worldwide has been unable to afford protection for their period. “In the majority of states, period products are taxed as luxury products, meaning that they are deemed non-essential,” stated Cosgrove. “Using tampons alone a menstruating person might spend upwards of $18,000 over the course of their lifespan to manage a biological system they can not control”. These out of reach prices can lead to individuals missing work or school, or using unsanitary or unsafe means to handle their period. “Our hope is that with the products from this drive we can provide people with the ability to safely manage an unavoidable time of the month,” she finished.
The PERIOD initiative also uses the language of “people who menstruate” to open up discussion about menstruation to everyone. Cisgender women are not the only ones who face issues regarding menstruation; transgender individuals must also be included in the conversation. Not all people with periods are women, and not all women have periods.
To find out more about Period.org, visit their website here. You can get involved or donate directly to them, or bring period products into school for the donation bins. Reusable products such as washable pads or menstrual cups are highly encouraged, as they not only prevent waste but also stop future purchasing fees for the individuals who receive them. The drive is a step forward in creating more equitable change in the community for everyone. Together, period poverty can be eradicated, one step at a time.