In addition to toilet paper, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, COVID-19 panic purchasing is causing a shortage of pads and tampons. Faced with a shortage of options, here’s an option: Stop your period.
With schools, clinics and whole communities shuttered, our programs improving women’s and adolescent health, increasing access to girls’ education and empowerment, and preventing violence against women and girls, too, have largely been forced to pause. What does this mean, when working with populations even more fragile than our own?
The national policy response has featured a handful of provisions that aim to advance gender and economic equity, both federally and in some states. Good news? Sort of.
With social distancing measures in mind, a California chapter of Girls Learn International acknowledged students’ fears of leaving home to get the products that they needed—and decided to create kits that are pre-packaged, individually wrapped and include five tampons and five pads per box.
I mailed unused Lunapads and Thinx menstrual underwear to Dr. Graham Peaslee, a nuclear scientist at the University of Notre Dame who discovered PFAS chemicals in fast-food wrappers in 2017, and his undergraduate student assistant Robert Bartsch. The results are in, and I’m afraid it’s bad news.
“Pandora’s Box” is a documentary that takes us from Maasai villages to Mumbai, from London to Manhattan—and in each community, we meet people who were deprived of their dignity, opportunities and their voices because they began to bleed. Three of the women who helped tell the story talked to Ms. at the film’s premiere about what they’ve learned from the movement—and the movie.
Unlike almost every other period tracking app, Euki does not store any user data in the cloud.
At the border right now, there’s no solace for young teens who might know little about what’s happening to their bodies—yet have to summon the courage to tell a male guard and ask for pads, only to be denied or given too few to matter. Or have to manage their periods in over-crowded rooms where privacy is scant. And aren’t even able to shower or wash hands or scrub clean stained underwear.
Knowing and having access to all the possibilities for dealing with periods is a matter of comfort and improved sanitation, and a means for achieving body integrity and increased opportunity. Menstruating individuals deserve choices—so let’s unpack them!
“We know what’s in the food we eat, the medicine we take and the clothes we wear. The millions of consumers in New York have an absolute right to also know what’s in our menstrual products.”