It’s a word that is not often expressed openly among the public. Some individuals cringe at the sound of the word, and others may feel embarrassed to bring up the topic. Girls may even feel the need to hide a tampon up their sleeve when they make a trip to the bathroom, like they have to hide the fact from the public eye. Over time, society has become accustomed to those reactions towards menstrual cycles.
However, one organization is breaking the silence and shattering the stigma and shame that surrounds menstruation.
The Period Project, introduced by current president Maddie Sloat, aims to build conversation around menstruation and encourage both men and women to lay the foundation for women’s success.
“I wanted to start The Period Project because menstrual hygiene was a need in many communities that I felt was not being addressed,” explains Sloat. “ We have made a lot of progress in the United States in discussing and educating the public about reproductive health, but I feel like there has been a silence around periods– even in this modern age.”
Sloat started the organization last spring semester as an initiative to advocate for women’s health. After just a few months, the organization raised $1600 and collected over 200 products, which were donated to the community.
“Our work that we do through this organization makes me feel good because I know that we are doing a really good thing for those in the area who don’t have the means to access these products,” says TPP treasurer Aliviah Chaplin.
Not only does the organization aim their efforts towards creating conversation, but their time is also dedicated towards the issues that involve access to feminine products. According to TPP’s website, impoverished women are placed at an enormous disadvantage due to the high cost of pads and tampons. On average, one box of pads or tampons costs around six dollars. That price is a burden, especially for single moms who need to spend that money on food for their children, instead of their own menstrual health.
“At first, I didn’t realize that women’s menstrual health was such an issue,” says TPP vice president Zach Gheen. “Once I learned about the impact, especially on low-income women, I wanted to get involved and now I want to work on educating more of the male population on campus as well.”
TPP extends its efforts out to Ohio University and to a number of schools in the area, as well. There are donation boxes placed in the Women’s Center and used to collect menstrual products. Later, the products will get delivered to those in need. Several locations on campus, including Baker center, Alden Library, Stocker Center and the ARC have baskets in the restrooms for women to take and donate tampons. That effort is a part of the organization’s “take a tampon, leave a tampon” campaign.
“I think this organization is important because to me, TPP is a building-block for many other women’s organizations. In order for us to fight for wage equality, an end to rape culture, reproductive rights, etc., we need to build a public that is educated on menstrual health, something that every woman will most likely experience in their lifetime,” says Sloat.
The organization meets every Tuesday at 7:30 in the Women’s Center, located in Baker Center.
To find out more about TPP, to make a donation or how to join, visit their website at: http://www.period-project.org/?page_id=2