The Menstrual Movement is Important, Period.

Periods suck. The symptoms can be painful and uncomfortable. They can ruin our daily schedules. The average woman menstruates a total of seven years out of her life. It’s something that we don’t talk about enough due to it being too taboo. We refer to periods as “that time of the month,” “aunt flo,” “shark week,” instead of just calling them periods.

Luckily for most of us, we have access to products that make our periods easier to handle. Whatever your preferred choice of product is, whether it be pads, tampons or the cup, we all have our ways of making sure our flow doesn’t mess with our daily life flow. A life without menstrual products would be a difficult one and hard to imagine. Except the reality is that there are people who struggle with access to menstrual hygiene products every single day. 

There has been growing awareness about the lack of equity in access to menstrual products. This movement has taken on multiple names: menstrual equity, period poverty, menstrual movement. No matter the name, the goal is still the same. Menstrual products should be equally accessible to those who need them, no matter what. There are people in the United States and across the globe who struggle with getting factual information about periods. There are people who struggle with access to menstrual hygiene products, and not everyone has the luxury of having access to pads and tampons. 

Leaders such as Nadya Okamoto, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and Laura Strausfeld are just a few of the many who are paving the way for period equity. In the United States, homeless women face challenges with their period. Girls in school who don’t have access to menstrual products miss significant amounts of time at school. Women in prisons, mental health facilities and in the workplace don’t have adequate access to products that are necessary for their menstrual health. Those facing poverty often have to choose between bleeding through their clothes or a meal. 

This issue is especially important for college girls to be aware of because it’s something women can understand first-hand and it’s a cause we can all contribute to in small ways. Right on your college campus and in your town or city, you can make a difference. Donate pads and tampons to local homeless shelters. Host “period packing” parties where everyone puts together a bag of menstrual hygiene products. Inform your friends about this issue that affects half of the world’s population. Talk to your friends, whether they menstruate or not, about periods and make talking about periods less taboo. Organizations such as PERIOD and Period Equity, are great places to start to find ways to get involved with the movement. 

It should be a basic right to be able to handle our menstrual cycle with dignity and comfort. Menstruation is a common thread between all female bodies, and we should be fighting for our sisters to have equal access to menstruation products.