Since 2014 Okamoto and her network have addressed nearly one million periods and registered more than 600 campus chapters in all 50 U.S. states, as well as 30 other countries.
In 2018 Simon & Schuster published Okamoto’s debut book, “Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement.” A few months later, InStyle placed her on a list of women who are changing the world.
Public Goods: How does PERIOD help distribute menstrual care products to people experiencing period poverty?
Nadya Okamoto: Service is one of our three core pillars of impact, along with education and advocacy. To date, we have addressed over 900,000 periods through product distribution for people in need. We distribute period products from our national headquarters in Portland, Oregon to shelters and different nonprofit organizations that serve homeless and low-income menstruators. We also distribute period products through our campus chapters.
Our chapters are amazing and host things like packing parties and drives for menstrual hygiene products. Then, they distribute the products to local shelters and other facilities. We also have drivers in Portland to help with deliveries.
If you would like to host a packing party, check out our website at period.org/get-involved.
PG: What other services do you provide? How else is the organization making an impact?
NO: Our three pillars are service, education, and advocacy. This means that in addition to providing menstrual hygiene products to those in need, we are very active in the community educating people about periods and breaking down menstrual stigma!
Our education pillar is all about trying to change the way people think, talk and learn about periods. Our advocacy pillar is about fighting for that social and systemic change toward menstrual equity — which includes our policy advocacy.
PG: Do you have a long-term strategy for fighting to end period poverty and the tampon tax?
NO: Yes! Our long-term solution that we’re fighting for is with policy. After all, the best way to catalyze systemic change is to change the system itself. We are fighting for freely accessible period products in schools, shelters and prisons, and an end to the tampon tax that still exists in 35 U.S. states.
PG: What are your thoughts on the most ideal language for menstrual products?
NO: We believe “menstrual products” is best to be gender inclusive — because not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women. Some menstruators may identify as transgender or nonbinary, but still experience menstruation.
PG: What are some sexual and reproductive health-related policies and issues that are important to your team?
NO: Here are the big issues for us:
- Tampon tax
- Overall fight for reproductive rights/family planning
- Access to birth control/abortion
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