Period poverty: the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities and/or waste management.
Any person who menstruates knows that menstrual products are essential, NOT a luxury. The lack of access to menstrual products, running water, and waste management make periods extremely difficult for people all over the world by making them miss work or school, be ostracized by their community, family or friends, and feel unclean.
Since Luci first began making PIMP pads years ago, we have donated tens of thousands to organizations and people across the globe. We have reached out to organizations we think might like them, and often get letters and emails asking for donations for folks in need. We never say no to giving a donation, even though we are a small business that relies on constant sales.
We may not be able to give every menstruator out there their own collection of reusables, but just one pad can bring a smile to their face and make their period just a little bit easier. Reusable cloth pads are also not an option for everyone: they are nearly impossible to clean if one doesn’t have access to clean, running water, making it much more practical to use disposable options. We always keep this in mind with our donations and ask before we send.
Recently, we added a Donate a Pad option on our website so that our customers can join in the movement to end period poverty. For only the small cost of $6.50 we will make and send a pad to that month’s featured organization. Our customers have donated over 500 pads to groups including PERIOD The Menstrual Movement, Indigenous Women Rising, and Milwaukee Diaper Mission.
With our customers’ help, we have been able to make donations a part of our daily work life. We are astonished by the generosity of our customers every time we check on the Donate a Pad numbers or on our Round Up donations (at checkout a $1 donation can be added to an organization helping people in need).
Increasing access to menstrual products is only one part of ending period poverty: we must also work to increase education surrounding reproductive health. Many young people are not taught how their bodies work and can be confused about periods. We get a lot of questions from new menstruators asking for advice and we do our best to help them understand their bodies better. We usually recommend that they read Cycling: A Guide to Menstruation by Laura Szumoski, an empowering do-it-yourself guide to menstruation and an accessible educational tool for menstruators of all ages. We have even sent this book to public libraries across the U.S. so its content is available for free! Learning about your body can be extremely empowering and we want to share this empowerment with as many people as possible.
We also try to make periods fun! Cramps, blood, and back aches can make the time of the month pretty awful, not to mention the social stigmas and ridicule that can come with periods. We do our best to have tons of cute and wild patterns to match any mood or taste so that our customers have a little less stress about their periods. We often get thank you notes telling us how our pads are the only thing that makes periods bearable. Although we are incredibly glad to be able to make a difference in someone’s life for the better, there are still so many people out their who suffer through their periods without having a way to make them better.
Reaching our to our local pantries and shelters, researching organizations fighting for justice and hearing from customers whose lives were changed because of our pads shows us how meaningful our work is- and how much work we still have to do to end period poverty. We couldn’t do this without our customers, so from the bottom of our hearts Thank You. Please continue spreading the word and helping us make the world a better place.
Interested in helping us lift people out of period poverty?
- The first step is to talk about it. Menstruation is a natural part of having a uterus and it happens to about half of the world’s population. We need to reduce the stigma surrounding periods by feeling more comfortable talking about them and what period poverty is.
- Get in contact with your local schools, governments and organizations to see how/if period poverty is on their radar. Encourage your politicians and local leaders to make menstrual products more accessible for more people and to increase education surrounding reproductive health.
- Donate to organizations that work to end period poverty by giving out products, building toilets, educating, lobbying governments and anything else that helps lift people up. You can even donate a pad to an organization fighting for period justice on our website for the small cost of $6.50. Check out our Donate a Pad page to see this month’s organization.