Women in America, and around the globe, deserve a comprehensive and innovative policy agenda that addresses the very real crisis of menstrual hygiene management.
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, 1 September 2015

n recent months, a wave of period-positivity throughout the media has helped to promote a dialogue surrounding menstruation stigma. Visible progress ensued: an introduction of legislation to end the sales tax on feminine hygiene products in several states; the convening of New York’s first-ever roundtable on menstrual health; and an array of awareness campaigns trended on Twitter, including TheHomelessPeriod and #JustATampon. In India –where only 12% of women use female hygiene products– period-positivity has inspired several innovators to take action. Take, for example, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a man who has dedicated his life to creating machines that produce low-cost sanitary pads out of pulverized wood fiber. Another innovator is Swati Bedekar. A former science and math teacher, she purchased Muruganantham’s machines and simplified the production process. Additionally, she has her all-female workforce receive training in menstruation education and basic financial management. A Mumbai- and Delhi-based hybrid social enterprise, Aakar Innovations draws upon both Bedekar and Muruganantham’s experiences and creates pads that are 100% compostable and biodegradable, meeting a higher environmental standard than much of what is on the commercial market. There are several lessons to take away from these innovators: first, that collaborating by sharing a winning model and letting others improve upon it is key; second, that remaining holistic and linking both dialogue and information to products is necessary to successfully raise social awareness; and, third, that charity should be considered both a way to provide for those in need and a way to enable them to participate and take the reins of their own destiny. We need these lessons to inform decisions made regarding women in the United States, too. After all, “…are a handful of sales tax reform bills –saving women eight cents on the dollar– and community donation drives the very best we can do?”

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In places where women’s bodies are viewed with suspicion, damaging social stigmas and myths cast them away from the community… which inevitably takes an incalculable socioeconomic, physical and mental toll on their lives.Eleanor Goldberg, The Huffington Post, July 14, 2015

IAlthough there are efforts to reform restrictions around menstruation or to do away with them as outdated, the period still has an outcast place in many religions. Whether it’s a prohibition from entering houses of worship or a ban from the marital bed, the commands of many faith traditions (…)  hide away a bodily function that stands unavoidably at the root of existence.Beenish Ahmad, Vice, June 20, 2015

It has passed a NASA wind test. It has a 68°C heated thermacore. Scientists have spent years devising its cross-hatched reinforced Kevlar skeleton and its Twist-A-Tec technology which ‘allows for easy insertion.’ What is it? … It’s what tampons would look and be like if men had periods.Rose George, The Guardian, May 28, 2015
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