Article by Ayushi Kate
Edited by Fatima Rizwan
Graphic by Lu Lu
Half of the world’s population menstruates.
3.5 billion womxn spend an estimated 5 years of their lives on their period. Activists and organizations have been fighting for decades to start conversations where womxn feel comfortable talking about their reproductive health and it has not been easy.
Menstrual equity is defined as the implementation of laws and policies that ensure the equal access, safety, and affordability of feminine hygiene products. It also includes education on womxn’s reproductive health during periods.
The physical health, wellbeing, and participation of womxn and girls in society suffers. Not having access to these critical resources can lead to both health and psychological issues that can further affect them. Furthermore, the costs of these products accumulate up over the years. And even in today’s day and age, these vital costs are still not included in health insurance, flexible spending accounts, or benefits programs.
Unfortunately, menstrual equity has not been achieved yet, and womxn of color are most affected by the disparities still present. Access to menstrual hygiene products has been limited to more vulnerable populations, especially low-income communities but also womxn of color.
We want to recognize some of the Black-led organizations working during this time for menstrual equity!
1. #Happy Period (@wearehappyperiod on Instagram)
#HappyPeriod is a foundation aiming to end period stigma and period poverty. They strive to especially help girls and womxn that are low income, homeless, or living in poverty. They focus on providing womxn with menstruation education, and access to products that are eco-friendly, affordable, and safe.
Learn more about them at hashtaghappyperiod.org
2. Flo Code (@flocodexo on Instagram)
Flo Code is an organization working to provide free menstrual hygiene products to those in need. They strive to educate and end the stigma around menstruation in society. They work in the Central Texas area and have donated over 450,000 menstrual hygiene products so far. Flo Code also holds monthly Flo Parties with their volunteers to advocate for underprivileged womxn’s health!
LINKS: You can learn more about them at their website
Support their organization here!
3. Our Periods Matter, Inc. (@ourperiodsmatter on Instagram)
Our Periods Matter, Inc. serves menstrual hygiene kits to homeless and underprivileged womxn and girls around the world. They inspire and empower womxn to live to their fullest potential and make a difference in their communities. Our Periods Matter also creates and distributes menstrual hygiene kits.
LINKS: Learn more at ourperiodsmatter.org
Details about donating are here
Find Our Periods Matter’s product list
4. Code Red Co (@coderedco on Instagram)
Code Red Collective is a co-powering nonprofit. They actively promote period wellness and de-stigmatization by providing literacy, aid, and advocacy. Code Red works towards dismantling inaccessibility and the lack of intersectionality.
They also aim to address systemic racism, period poverty, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, transphobia, police brutality, and economic exploitation.
You can learn more about them here and stay tuned for their upcoming Kickstarter launch!
5. Sending Her Essentials (@sendingheressentials on Instagram)
Sending Her Essentials Inc. is an international nonprofit organization supplying young womxn and girls with the essentials they need, including menstrual health education and menstrual hygiene products. Sending Her Essentials supports girls by educating girls with business skills so they can earn income safely and sustainably.
Donate to Sending her Essentials here
6. She Talks Movement (@shetalksmovement on Instagram)
She Talks Movement is a community of womxn to converse freely and take their ideas to the next level. They aim to provide “foundation, mobilization, and transformation”, as per the three pillars of the movement.
Get Involved with She Talks!
Join their communities and sign up for their newsletter.
7. Once-A-Month (@oam_global on Instagram)
15-year-old Jane Henry founded Once-A-Month in 2017. She began to help out in her community by meeting the needs of womxn affected by period poverty and was inspired to found the organization. Once-A-Month works to raise awareness on periods and menstrual health through service, education, and advocacy. The Cloth Pad Project is a project run by Once-A-Month.
Their aim is to provide reusable and eco-friendly pads to womxn in need.
8. Heels4Pads (@heels4pads on Instagram)
The Heels4Pads Initiative is based in Kenya raising awareness of the challenges of period poverty for womxn and girls across Kenya. During the coronavirus, these struggles have been further highlighted for low-income families. Over the last few months, their organization has supported girls and womxn through the distribution of their COVID-19 Relief Care Package that not only includes pads, but also non-perishable foods.
In July, Heels4Pads facilitated a COVID-19 Relief Drive in 4 locations. They hope to distribute 6,000 packages of pads and educate them on menstrual hygiene.
You can donate to Heels4Pads here
Learn more here
9. She For She Pads (@sheforshepads on Instagram)
She For She promotes and creates employment opportunities for Ugandan womxn to produce and sell menstrual kits. The affordable pads are produced by womxn in Uganda, and She For She ensures good working conditions, wages, and training for womxn. They work to empower these girls and womxn to take control of their menstrual health and education.
Find out more about She For She
Become a member
The Homegirl Project stands in solidarity with these dedicated black-led menstrual equity groups, and we urge you to support them too!
ACLU National Prison Project. “Menstrual Equity.” ACLU, ACLU, December 2019.
Zraick, Karen. “It’s Not Just the Tampon Tax: Why Periods Are Political.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 July 2018.
Sanchez, Erica and Leah Rodriguez. “Period Poverty: Everything You Need to Know.” Global Citizen. 5 Feb 2019.